Genetics and nutrition impacts on herd productivity in the Northern Australian beef cattle production cycle

Malau-Aduli, Aduli E.O., Curran, Jessica, Gall, Holly, Henriksen, Erica, O'Connor, Alina, Paine, Lydia, Richardson, Bailey, van Sliedregt, Hannake, and Smith, Lucy (2022) Genetics and nutrition impacts on herd productivity in the Northern Australian beef cattle production cycle. Veterinary and Animal Science, 15. 100228.

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Genetics and nutrition drive herd productivity due to significant impacts on all components of the beef cattle production cycle. In northern Australia, the beef production system is largely extensive and relies heavily on tropical cattle grazing low quality, phosphorus-deficient pastures with seasonal variations in nutritive value. The existing feedlots are predominantly grain-based; providing high-energy rations, faster turn-off and finishing of backgrounded cattle to meet market specifications. This review focusses on the beef cattle production cycle components of maternal nutrition, foetal development, bull fertility, post-natal to weaning, backgrounding, feedlotting, rumen microbes and carcass quality as influenced by genetics and nutrition. This student-driven review identified the following knowledge gaps in the published literature on northern Australian beef cattle production cycle:

1. Long-term benefits and effects of maternal supplementation to alter foetal enzymes on the performance and productivity of beef cattle;

2. Exogenous fibrolytic enzymes to increase nutrient availability from the cell wall and better utilisation of fibrous and phosphorus deficient pasture feedbase during backgrounding;

3. Supplementation with novel encapsulated calcium butyrate and probiotics to stimulate the early devel- opment of rumen papillae and enhance early weaning of calves;

4. The use of single nucleotide polymorphisms as genetic markers for the early selection of tropical beef cattle for carcass and meat eating quality traits prior to feedlotting;

The review concludes by recommending future research in whole genome sequencing to target specific genes associated with meat quality characteristics in order to explore the development of breeds with superior genes more suited to the North Australian beef industry. Further research into diverse nutritional strategies of phosphorus supplementation and fortifying tropically adapted grasses with protein-rich legumes and forages for backgrounding and supplementing lot-fed beef cattle with omega-3 oil of plant origin will ensure sustainable production of beef with a healthy composition, tenderness, taste and eating quality.

Item ID: 71191
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2451-943X
Copyright Information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2022 22:01
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3003 Animal production > 300303 Animal nutrition @ 50%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3003 Animal production > 300301 Animal growth and development @ 50%
SEO Codes: 10 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 1004 Livestock raising > 100401 Beef cattle @ 100%
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