The McDonald family is passionate about the longevity of cattle production in the country and globally and creating a competitive edge for the Australian beef industry. With its strong focus on efficiency, turning cattle off younger and value-adding, MDH is committed to continual improvement through research, development and adoption of innovative cattle farming technologies and animal welfare.
Genomics Project -CSIRO, MDH, Curley Family - Gipsy Plains
Under the banner of the MLA Donor Company Funding initiative, and in conjunction with the Curley Family, Sigrid Lehnert and her team at CSIRO have been developing a genomic test for "Commercial Cow Fertility".
The aim is to identify the bulls from our long-time supply chain partner and Brahman bull breeders, Robert and Jacqueline Curley and family, that will most likely sire heifer calves with a greater chance of high fertility. Over ten years, this has been done through extensive DNA sampling of 3-year-old breeders from our "Iffley" cowherd. A pregnancy test result is used to score the breeders for fertility. Pooled DNA profiles of groups of breeders are then used to compare with the bulls' genetic profiles.
This means that bulls can be ranked based on the likelihood of their female progeny being more likely to be more fertile. This is one tool in the genetic toolbox to select bulls to improve productivity. The trial continues as the first round of ranked bulls has been joined.
MDH Agcotech trials and outcome
Beef productivity and climate change strategies go hand in hand. Reducing methane and carbon emissions is a strategy that leads to more measurable efficiency in our beef operations, and increasing beef output in shorter time intervals allows us to create carbon offsets while maintaining steady production.
MDH is working with Agcotech and Dr Julian Hill to establish an on-property assessment tool to facilitate and improve producers’ understanding of the opportunities that may be found in the carbon market and working towards entering the market through the Beef Herd Methodology scheme.
Embedded in this is the use of medicated molasses blocks to work in conjunction with a Urea block to improve breeder health and efficiency.
Also, in working with Agcotech in beginning our pathway to carbon neutrality, we hope that more markets will open up for our meat products here and overseas. The answer to world hunger is more efficiently produced beef with a lower carbon footprint, improving efficiency, higher weaning rates, more productive herds and easier management.
We believe that such an approach, working with Agcotech/FourSeasons to supplement our cattle, has many measurable benefits, and are excited to begin this new chapter of a tired world looking for real commercial solutions.
Northern Beef Business (NB2)
Iffley Station is embarking on the pilot program of the Northern Beef Business (NB2) as a member of the corporate group. NB2 is a Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and Northern Australia Beef Research Council (NABRC) joint initiative aiming to increase the productivity of northern production systems through the extension and adoption of existing research and by identifying gaps for growth.
MDH is an active part of an industry benchmarking project with pastoral company peers. Facilitated by Ian McLean of Bush AgriBusiness, MDH is looking to increase efficiencies throughout the supply chain by focusing on both industry best practices and collaboration with like-minded producers and industry peers.