From weighing newborn calves in the paddock to carcass evaluation in the abattoir, two Charles Sturt University (CSU) students have seen the value of scientific data in beef breeding and production.
CSU Bachelor of Veterinary Science student Ms Georgia Howell and Bachelor of Agricultural Science student Mr Jack Shultz have been undertaking an internship with Angus Australia and the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation.
As part of the internship the students have been involved with the Angus Sire Benchmarking Project, which aims to evaluate the current tools used by Angus breeders to select bulls.
The CSU herd is one of the co-operator herds in the project and Mr Shultz has relished the opportunity to be involved.
“For the past fortnight most of my spare time has been spent on the Charles Sturt University farm, monitoring the calving so we can identify and weigh the calves to record the data,” Mr Shultz said.
“After being involved in the benchmarking project I can see the value of having accurate records of cows and calves in genetic selection.
I’ve really enjoyed the practical experience as part of this internship to compliment the theory that I am learning in my university studies.”
Ms Howell says the internship has broadened her knowledge about the industry and how information is collected and used.
“Being part of this internship has helped me see all the work that goes in behind the scenes and the immense amount of data used to create Estimated Breeding Values (EBV), it’s not just a number there’s a sound scientific base behind it.
“One of my placements involved visiting a processor at Warwick, where I was able to see how the data is collected and put together, right from the steers coming in to the carcass data collection, meat samples, intramuscular fat (IMF) and chemical analysis.”
Ms Howell is originally from Amphitheater in central Victoria and Mr Shultz is from Ambrose near Rockhampton in central Queensland.
As part of their internship the students also assisted at the Anugs Youth Roundup in Wodonga in January.