A survey of beef cattle diseases in Victoria

James Dickson, University of Melbourne - Meat and Livestock Australia

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

This research article covers a survey of beef cattle diseases in Victoria. If this survey can be taken to be fairly representative of the problems affecting beef cattle herds, then diseases do not appear to be a major problem in the current population.

What is the problem?

Before embarking on investigations of diseases in Beef cattle in Victoria it seemed logical to carry out a survey to try and establish what losses are due to disease and the comparative importance of these diseases.

The development of this analysis was to set out in three major sections;

  • Management Procedure
  • Disease Incidence.
  • Management and Disease Interaction.

What did the research involve?

• Districts Selected
– Cattle breeding concentrated in the Western North Eastern and Gippsland Districts and elsewhere is fairly widely dispersed and for considerations of time and distance, it was decided to carry out the survey in these three areas.

• Farm Selection
– The number of farms carrying Beef Cattle in Victoria is shown in Table 26 of the Classification of Rural Holdings by Size and Type of Activity Victoria.

• Distribution of Farms
-The distribution of farms visited the survey areas.

• Basic Numerical Data
-Publications from the Government Statists V Office give data on Areas and Farms in Statistical Divisions.

• Method of Obtaining Information
-This was my personal interview with the herd owner or manager and since time did not permit setting up a survey to start from a given date to continue forward over a year.

• Limitation of the Value of Information Obtained
-Because of the retrospective nature of the survey, memory was relied upon to place events in the sequence in which they occurred relative to the season of the year or the breeding herd year-9 and consequently numbers given may be inaccurate.

What were the key findings?

A total of 116 properties were surveyed in Victoria in the three major beef producing areas. Of these 42 were in Western District, 39 in the North=Eastern District and 35 in the South-Eastern District.

Slaughterhouse findings on post-mortem inspection of carcasses are often of interest. Beef Carcase condemnations by Department of Primary Industry Inspectors over nine months from July 1965 to March 1966 show tuberculosis to account for 31 percent, bruising 12 percent, emaciation 16 percent and fever 14&6 percent of all condemnations.

Final Comment

Results have been presented with some reservation on their accuracy due to the retrospective nature of the survey, which left out the smaller herd size groups forming the bulk of Victorian beef cattle herds and also dealt with fairly restricted areas of Victoria.

2000 - Australia - James Dickson, University of Melbourne - Meat and Livestock Australia
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