Determining property-level rates of breeder cow mortality in northern Australia including literature review
The Determining property-level rates of breeder cow mortality in northern Australia including literature review project investigated breeder mortality in northern beef herds and highlighted the difficulties in sourcing accurate data, and then developed a mortality calculator tool to enable producers to use their own property records to determine levels of breeder mortality in their herds and the associated financial losses.
Breeder cow mortality rates in extensive north Australian cattle herds at the property and regional levels are not accurately known. By working with 36 properties across nine regions of northern Australia, sufficient herd records (mainly from data for the period 2006-2011) were collected to allow estimates to be made of total female, breeder and male death rates. When a static herd model was found to be inappropriate for this task, a rigorous livestock inventory approach was developed such that deaths and death rates could be calculated over several years. Average regional death rate in the total female component of a herd ranged from 2.7% to 11.8%, while average breeder cow mortality rate ranged from 3.0% to 17.8%. Using univariable and multivariable analysis, factors with significant associations with mortality rate included the age of females at last joining, the age of females at last weaning, the age at which cows were culled, wet season phosphorus
supplementation, dry season segregation of breeders, and continuous versus controlled mating. A mortality calculator tool has been developed which will enable producers to use their own property records to determine levels of breeder mortality in their herds and the associated financial losses. A reliable standard of herd record keeping is necessary to effectively utilise the mortality calculator tool.
When: 15 May 2011 to 1 August 2012
Contact: Alastair Henderson, Nigel Perkins and Steve Banney
Collaborators: Mirroong Pty Ltd, AusVet Animal Health Service and Steve Banney Agribusiness
To learn more, please read the final report summary (B.NBP.0664) and download the final report (PDF, 2.4 MB) and the literature review final report (PDF, 600.3 KB) from the Meat & Livestock Australia website.