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In Australia: Production of High Quality Beef Cattle

By Eduardo Samuel Garay (Honduras)

I am a fourth-year Agricultural Engineering student at Zamorano.  I find myself doing my internship in the main agricultural area of Australia, the state of Queensland.

I am completely involved in managing the company Galloway Cattle Co. which is engaged in the production of high-quality beef cattle.  During my stay I work in seven properties, which total 22,300 hectares.  Among these farms are distributed a herd of 5,000 head of Hereford, Brangus, Angus and Bonsmara livestock breeds.  Among these are 375 bulls valued at an average of US $ 20,000 each.

The internship requires that I perform all tasks that are demanded during the daily operation of the company.  These include keeping proper records of the herd such as weight, hardware, chip labeling to ensure traceability and tattooed cattle.  I also cover health aspects such as vaccines to mothers and special treatments like patches to treat bovine kerato-conjunctivitis which causes blindness in cattle.  This disease is spreading fast in certain herds of Hereford due to weather conditions in the area.  Also I have learned technical aspects to maintain a genetic pool of high quality, such as washing of embryos, artificial insemination and quality testing bulls for sale.

During my internship I was able to observe different practices and technologies that I had not known.  The company is located in one of the areas of Australia with high temperatures and low rainfall.  The conditions present a challenge to remain one of the producers of highest genetic quality cattle in the country in the four aforementioned races, and a very useful experience and incentive to boost this sector in my country. To achieve this involves grasses adapted to drought, such as Cenchrus ciliaris, commonly known as Buffel grass, increasing the capacity of animals per hectare despite the weather conditions.  Also it is working hard to maintain optimal health status of the animals using biological controls like dung beetle, which are used to prevent the reproduction of the fly or vector that transmits bovine kerato-conjunctivitis.  This is a practice used by many to maintain high quality in the herd.

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Being in the southern hemisphere of the world along with my colleague Orlando Oliva in a company of this caliber serves as a tremendous experience for our future professional vision.  In the same way we affirm the daily valuable practical lessons, technical and theoretical, but above all the professional character of our Alma Mater that has given us the knowledge to be able to understand why Zamoranos assert ourselves here and in the rest of the world.


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