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Improvement of Beef Cattle in Australia

Nature volume 131, pages 576577 (22 April 1933) | Download Citation



IF, as predicted by Dr. J. B. Orr, Australia is to become “the stock farm of the Empire”, one of its urgent needs is the improvement of the beef cattle breeds in the northern tropical parts of Queensland, North Australia and Western Australia. The handicaps to British breeds are sparse fodder and prevalence of ticks and tick fever. The success reported to have followed the introduction of Brahman (Zebu) strains into herds in poorly grassed, tick-infested territories bordering on the Gulf of Mexico induced the Australian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in 1931 to make a close investigation of the actual position. As a result, it has for some time strongly advocated experimental breeding in Australia to evolve a suitable cross for the north between British and Brahman cattle. Lack of funds prevented immediate action, but four pastoral companies have now made sufficient money available to ensure a thorough test of the possibilities of the cross. An officer of the Council is in the United States selecting suitable animals (probably eight bulls and two cows) which will be shipped to Australia and, after compliance with exacting quarantine conditions, will be divided amongst the properties of the companies, which at present carry chiefly shorthorns and Herefords. All breeding and culling will be under the sole supervision and control of the Commonwealth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Many years will be required for the evolution of an animal suitable for northern tropical conditions but success, if attained, will be of considerable importance to many parts of the Empire.

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