Future farming and profitability were the focus of the 2024 Team Te Mania workshop held in Orange, late last month.

The annual Team Te Mania workshop featured an impressive line-up of speakers which kept attendees highly engaged for all three days. 

Addressing the current demand for low methane cattle and reinventing the impact of farming on the environment. NSW Department of Primary Industries researcher Tom Granleese gave a captivating insight into his current work with Low Methane Beef (LMB).

Tom’s work spans the Low Methane Beef (LMB) and Southern Multibreed Cattle Project (SMB), and he says with the recent commitment by Australia’s red meat industry to net zero emissions in 2030, breeding for low methane cattle is an attractive strategy.

Tom says the four-year $15m LMB project will create decision-making tools to identify cattle genetically high in productivity, yet low in greenhouse emissions.

He says methane measurements on steers at UNE’s Tullimba feedlot and their sisters on pasture means rumen samples from both groups will not only assess if a cheaper indirect method of measuring methane can be determined but also allow researchers to compare methane output in a paddock v feedlot setting.

“Specialised GreenFeed monitoring systems capture the amount of carbon dioxide and methane emissions. To achieve this, each animal was trained to eat from a special machine with sensors monitoring their breath.” Tom says.

“By enabling the selection of low emitting beef cattle, we can achieve permanent, cumulative, and long-lasting change (possibly at the rate of 1 percent annually).

“I’m pleased to report we are almost halfway in, data analysis has begun with a 2026 pipeline of public release.”

Tom adds the project will form the footing for genetically selecting lower-emitting cattle while maintaining health, production, carcass, and reproduction productivity in the beef industry.

“It will focus on compiling existing and creating new data on beef cattle methane emissions, measuring specifically for genetic evaluation, with the goal to generate methane emission research breeding values.”

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In the flexibility field, the industry sees Southern Multibreed project (SMB) as the basis of an accurate reference population to a new age of multi-breed genetic evaluation.

Principal investigator for the SMB project, Dr Brad Walmsley, told Team Te Mania workshop participants the project will assist in the direct comparison of six major cattle breeds (and composites) – Angus, Hereford, Shorthorn, Wagyu, Charolais and Brahman – allowing producers to make more informed decisions to improve their herd.

“The goal of the project is to create an SMB dataset using BREEDPLAN traits, allowing for future breed comparisons irrespective of hide colour,” Brad says.

“Additionally, the project will create genomic values with higher accuracy than is currently achieved,” he says.

“It will also build a reference for hard-to-measure traits, such as those influencing female reproductive performance (such as anoestrus, age at puberty), meat quality, carcase traits and feed efficiency, which will enable the development of a temperate multi breed genetic evaluation herd.

“This project will positively impact genetic improvement of beef productive and product value, particularly for traits of economic importance such as fertility, weaning rate, feed efficiency, sale weight and reduced mortality rate. These traits have significantly greater impact on farm profitability.”

The presentations concluded with Tom Gubbins giving an update on Te Mania’s genetics program, before a collaborative Team planning session was conducted.

The 2024 Team Te Mania workshop was also a personal highlight for our Director Hamish McFarlane, who has been at the helm of the Team program since its earliest days.

Hamish was presented with a gift, by Christian Duff, General Manager of genetic improvement at Angus Australia. This gift was in recognition of Hamish’s many years of commitment and service to Angus Australia, as a director of the peak industry body.

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𝑻𝒆𝒂𝒎 𝑴𝒆𝒎𝒃𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒆𝒏𝒋𝒐𝒚𝒆𝒅 𝒂𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒏𝒐𝒐𝒏 𝒕𝒆𝒂 𝒃𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒊𝒄𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒒𝒖𝒆 𝑽𝒂𝒍𝒅𝒆𝒎𝒂𝒓 𝒍𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒔𝒆.
📸 Photos @min_mccormack
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