Beef Central briefs 19 Sep 2013

Beef Central, 19/09/2013

Cross loading module a finalist in safety awards

An innovative cross loading module developed by Frasers Transport in Toowoomba, recently featured on Beef Central, has been named as a finalist in the 2013 Queensland Safe Work Awards. The cross-loading module simplifies the process of transferring cattle from road trains and B-triples into B-Doubles at Toowoomba where road access restrictions prevent longer-configuration trailers  from continuing east to Brisbane. Cross-loading traditionally involves reversing two-trailers together and is considered one of the most dangerous activities along the cattle transport supply chain, exposing drivers to risks associated with working at heights, in confined spaces, in poor or no light, and with unpredictable livestock. The purpose-built module incorporates overhead walkways, elevated platforms, ladders with safety rails and sliding gates/barriers to remove the need for the driver to work within, climb or stand on the crate. This decreases the risks of falls, trips, and contact with livestock. The cross loading module has been named as a finalist in two categories recognising the best solution to an identified work health and safety issue and the best individual contribution to work health and safety.  More than 106 business across the state entered the awards. Winners will be announced at the Safe Work Awards ceremony on October 8.


More than 60 per cent of Queensland drought-declared

Continuing hot, dry weather has put more than 60 per cent of Queensland into drought. Queensland agriculture minister John McVeigh said yesterday that Charters Towers, Central Highlands, Woorabinda, Isaac, Barcaldine and the remainder of Blackall-Tambo shires had been added to the growing list of drought-declared areas. This takes the number of drought-declared shires to 25, including seven part-declared, with 25 individually droughted property (IDP) declarations in place in three other shires. “In Charters Towers, rainfall has been very low and many dams are dry or will go dry. Producers are seeking emergency water supplies, drilling new bores and piping water from other sources.” Pastures in Central Highlands, Woorabinda and Isaac shires had held some nutritional value until a few weeks ago when heavy frosts caused deterioration of quality, he said. “Livestock condition is also falling across the area, especially as breeders are now calving and widespread drought feeding is underway. “For the Blackall-Tambo and Barcaldine shires, there has been very low rainfall since March. Pasture growth has been limited and hit by frost.”Producers applying for the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS) including the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate should contact the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on 13 25 23 or access to DRAS claim forms and IDP applications can be found at


Police searching for stolen cattle yard panels

Police from the Roma Stock and Rural crime Investigation Squad are currently investigating the theft of a large amount of portable cattle panels and branding equipment from two properties in the Surat and Yuleba communities. Investigations to date have linked the offences. Police say they have received information relating to a vehicle of interest that the occupants may be able to assist with their inquiries. Panels stolen were taken from cattle yards set off the main roadway along the Roma/Condamine Highway. Police are seeking any further assistance as the whereabouts of the panels or the identification of any person or vehicle involved. Information in relation to the location of these panels, or information relating to the theft of them, can be forwarded to investigators at the Roma SARCIS office on 4622 9350.


UQ offers $6000 ag scholarships

The University is offering Merit Scholarships to students enrolling in the Bachelor of Agricultural Science, the Bachelor of Agribusiness or the new majors in the Bachelor of Science at UQ's Gatton campus in 2014.  UQ will award up to 10 scholarships valued at $6000 each to Year 12 school leavers for their first year of study in these programs.  UQ's Faculty of Science Associate Dean (Academic) Associate Professor Kim Bryceson said the University was taking on the challenge to promote careers in agriculture and agribusiness to potential students with scholarship winners from 2012 and 2013 already reaping the benefits.  “We are actively encouraging the next generation to consider the diverse and highly rewarding careers in agriculture by offering innovative and industry-relevant degrees at state-of-the-art facilities at our Gatton Campus,“ Associate Professor Bryceson said. UQ welcomed more than 300 students into agriculture related degree programs in 2013. Applications close on 31 October 2013. To apply for a merit scholarship, complete the Academic Scholarship application at

USQ to establish Institute of Agriculture

The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) is set to invest a further $15 million into its agricultural research program as part of the establishment of an Institute of Agriculture and the Environment. USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas said the institute would build upon the university’s commitment to the agriculture sector. Twenty years ago USQ developed the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA) which had now delivered around $60 million in research for rural industries. Professor Thomas announced $15.3 million in targeted funding to build research capacity in the new Institute including $5 million to refurbish the crop biotechnology and pathology laboratories and the establishment of an environmental chemistry laboratory. “The establishment of the Institute for Agriculture and the Environment signals USQ’s intention to strengthen our position as a strategic national and global research provider for modern agriculture,” Professor Thomas said.

Low meat diet can contribute to violence, finds US report

Diets low in natural fats and red meat could contribute to violent behaviour among teenagers, a recent US report has claimed. The report was produced by nutrition researcher Dr Sylvia Onusic, who argued that deficiencies of vitamins A, D,K, B1, B3, B6, B12 and folate could lead to mental instability and violent behaviour. According to UK meat industry website, the research also suggested that a lack of minerals such as iodine, potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, chromium and manganese, were also behaviour-affecting factors.  Published in the Spring 2013 issue of Wise Traditions, the journal of the Weston A Price Foundation, it said the brain and nervous system required specific nutrients to function properly, adding: “The evidence is overwhelming that nutrient deficiencies can lead to aggression and violent behaviour.” Meanwhile, it was noted that US doctors were seeing a return of nutritional deficiency diseases like pellagra. A rise in zinc deficiency had also been recorded in patients and has been linked to “angry, aggressive and hostile behaviour”. Dr Onusic identified meat as a rich reservoir of the vitamins and minerals missing from the diets in the study, with red meat and organ meat identified in particular.

Russia commits $10b to herd expansion

The Russian Government has committed $10 billion over the next seven years to rebuild the country’s beef and dairy herds which is fuelling increased demand for imports of breeding cattle, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
US Capital Press said the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service has reported that much of the money is being used to import high-quality breeding dairy and beef cattle, semen and embryos. The imports are primarily supported through subsidised loan interest rates. According to USDA, Russian imports of live cattle rose by almost 50 percent in volume and value in 2012, to 137,000 head worth nearly $500 million. More than 54 percent of the imports were from the US and Russia was the top market for US cattle exports in 2012. Most of the exports were of bred heifers of beef breeds, but exports of dairy breeds showed strong growth. According to the report, the pace of imports has slowed in 2013 because many large buyers reached their credit limits. However, with increased government support, it is expected that new buyers will enter the market.

Fracking risk for livestock

A British professor has warned that the gas industry practice of hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ poses serious risks to the health of livestock and should be stopped until impacts can be further assessed. Professor Robert Oswald, an expert on molecular medicine at Cornell University in the United States, compiled 24 incidents across six US states where livestock on farms adjacent to drilling sites died or suffered illness including reproductive and neurological problems potentially following exposure to fracking chemicals. One of the incidents involved the leakage of waste water from a fracking event in Louisiana which allegedly left 17 cows dead from respiratory failure. In Pennsylvania, a herd suffered a 50 per cent stillbirth rate after cows grazed in a field contaminated with spillage from a waste pit.  “Farmers living in intensively drilled areas should be very concerned about potential exposures of their crops and herds to shale-gas contaminants in the water, air and soil,” he said, according to a report in the UK’s Independent.

Vaccinating cattle reduce human E. coli infections

Vaccinating cattle against the E. coli O157 bacterium could cut the number of human cases of the disease by 85pc, according to scientists. The bacteria, which cause severe gastrointestinal illness and even death in humans, are spread by consuming contaminated food and water, or by contact with livestock faeces in the environment. A study has found that the risk of E. coli O157 infection is particularly significant when the cattle are 'super-shedding' – excreting extremely high numbers of bacteria in their faeces for a limited period of time. Vaccines against the bacteria exist that can reduce super-shedding. As a consequence, the researchers predict that vaccinating cattle could reduce human cases by nearly 85 percent, far higher than the 50 percent predicted by studies simply looking at the efficacy of current vaccines in cattle. For more visit the Science Codex website here


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