The study is examining the interaction between the weight of recently weaned cattle, their dry season growth, and compensatory weight gain in the wet season.
Young cattle experience yearly weight changes by eating grasses in the dry season that are protein poor, but enriched in the wet season.
The study, involving 135 animals, is examining if pre-wet season weights should be increased or maintained to meet production targets, live export market specifications, and the quality of feed needed to achieve these results.
The Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries and the University of Queensland are collaborating in the three-and-a-half-year project.
NTDPI&F beef cattle research scientist, Kieren Mccosker, said the experiment will revisit the idea there may be some production benefits from providing extra nutritional support to recently weaned cattle.
“The data collected will advise cattle producers of the dry season weight gains needed to reach wet season weight targets and the reproductive readiness of the cattle,” he said.
“The study will provide more scientific data on the future performance of cattle weaned at different weights, and given different levels of nutrition from weaning until their first wet season.
“There is still some disagreement between states regarding the appropriate management of young cattle around weaning, but this project will give insights into what works in the Territory.”