Livestock management

Management of livestock must take into account variable seasonal factors, fluctuating markets and declining terms of trade. The most successful producers have a good knowledge of market requirements, matching product quality to suit. There are many factors that can determine the productivity and profitability of a livestock enterprise. These include the supply and quality of feedstuffs, the use of the most appropriate genetics, ensuring high health standards, optimising housing or environmental conditions, meeting quality assurance requirements, and having a sound knowledge of market requirements. This requires good communication along the value chain.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has technical expertise in a range of areas related to livestock management but acknowledges that there are many other sources of information that producers should be encouraged to seek out. There are many grower groups who play an important role in encouraging discussion amongst producers to improve adoption of new technology, as do private consultants and university scientists.

Articles

  • The first 48 hours of a lamb’s life are critical – around 90% of lamb mortality from birth to weaning occurs within this period. It is also a critical period of time for the ewe.

  • Selenium (Se) is now recognised as an essential trace element for ruminants.

  • There are multiple causes of infertility, abortion and stillbirths in cows. These include some diseases that are exotic to Western Australia and some zoonotic diseases.

  • The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) proposes to extend the State Barrier Fence eastwards from its current termination point near Ravensthorpe, extending north arou

  • Climate change will affect each pastoral region in different ways.

  • Sheep are supplementary fed for either survival or production purposes. Efficient supplementary feeding should aim to supply sheep with a diet that is sufficient in digestible energy and protein.

  • Grass seeds may cause a number of serious production and health problems in sheep, including eye damage. Wool affected by grass seed has reduced demand value.

  • Mature cow weights have increased over the last 10-20 years due to genetic progress.

    Older recommendations used for target heifer joining weights may no longer be appropriate.

  • Supplementary feeding sheep with grain, hay or silage is necessary when pastures or stubbles are deficient in energy and protein.

  • Mastitis is the term for a bacterial infection of the udder. It is most common in ewes raising multiple lambs or with high milk production.

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