The Queensland Government says the state's newest beef research facility has welcomed its first herd of cattle.
An update issued by the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation yesterday said that nearly 500 weaner breeders have been moved from the department's Swan Research Station near Ayr to the new Spyglass Beef Research Facility located 110km north of Charters Towers.
At the Swan Research Station, the herd formed part of one of Australia’s longest running cattle genetics projects, with intensive recording spanning 12 years.
Spyglass Facility Manager, Steve Anderson, said the heifers represent the core of the new station’s breeding herd, with 2000 more head of cattle to be moved to the 38,000 hectare property in the next six months.
“These weaner breeders are the recorded progeny of the cattle that took part in the Cooperative Research Centre for Beef Genetic Technologies project which was helping to pinpoint the best way to breed productive and profitable cattle in Northern Australia,” Mr Anderson said.
“It would have to be one of the most highly recorded herds in the country.
“Even though the formal research of that project will wind up in mid-2012, the herd will continue to have an extremely valuable role.
“In many ways, these cattle represent the centrepiece of our efforts at Spyglass to help double the profitability of the northern beef industry over the next 10 years.
“From research into genetics to reproduction, growth, welfare and husbandry – this herd will be instrumental in helping us to forge a path for the state’s beef producers to improve their long term productivity and their bottom line.”
Mr Anderson said while he expects Spyglass will be home to world-class research over the next 50 years, the immediate priority is to build up station facilities.
“We’re aiming to have accommodation and research infrastructure in place by September this year so that we can realise our broader goals,” Mr Anderson said.
“New yards will be constructed in that time, as well as new quarters, houses and offices so that we can have staff living and working at Spyglass.
“An industry advisory committee is also being set up to oversee the progress and will play an important role in the running of the facility.
“Once we have the basics in place, that’s when we can start working towards offering training and extension programs.”
It’s expected Spyglass will eventually hold up to 4,000 adult cattle.
The purchase of Spyglass and neighbouring property Lucky Break in February 2011 formed a key part of the Queensland Government’s 2020 Beef Plan which represents a $33 million reinvestment in the