Australia’s largest privately owned cattle producer Consolidated Pastoral Company is undertaking a new trial in husbandry pain relief.
The beef business is utilising an off-the-shelf anaesthetic spray, Tri-Solfen, during branding on their Allawah property in central Queensland and Auvergne Station in the Northern Territory.
The livestock pain relief product, Tri-Solfen, has been used by Australian sheep producers since it’s official registration in 2008, while the spray-on anaesthetic and antiseptic product was only approved for use in cattle by the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicine Authority during December last year.
CPC’s chief executive officer Troy Setter said the cattle company has always focused on high standards of animal and staff welfare.
He said the decision to trial Tri-Solfen wasn’t driven by consumer pressure, but a need to continue maximising animal welfare and weight gains in young cattle.
CPC’s Allawah stud manager Jason Purcell has been with the company for 17 years and said using the product hadn’t slowed down this year’s branding process.
He added his initial observations of the trial were calves appearing calmer after husbandry procedures, reduced bleeding, and a faster mothering up between cows and calves after branding.
“As a cattle company we always focus on reducing any stress to our cattle during all animal husbandry procedures at branding time,” Mr Purcell said.
“My initial observations are the product will potentially help us achieve optimum outcomes for our cattle.
“At this point in time it’s shaping up to be an excellent product for our cattle company to be utilizing.”
Allawah is considered Consolidated Pastoral Company’s elite stud breeding property, located between the Queensland towns of Biloela and Banana, and runs CPC’s stud Brahman breeding herd, plus a few other smaller stud herds that are used in composite breeding programs.
“We feel the time is right to trial the Tri-Solfen pain relief product and it’s working well for us here at Allawah so far,” Mr Purcell said.
The pain relief trial comes after new animal welfare codes of practice were released 18 months ago.
“The new welfare codes require us to have some product on-site if for example we are doing any procedures such as reducing the size of an old cow’s horn that is creating some husbandry or health issues for the animal,” CPC’s Troy Setter said.
“We’ll do a cost benefit analysis on this trial at year end, but it won’t just be an economic cost benefit.
“We’ll look at production benefits as well, plus focus on any improvements in animal comfort.”
Mr Setter also said the company would consider if the product has been practical and safe for CPC’s staff.
The company has also reduced the size of it’s Northern Territory cattle brand in response to beef customer feedback and to increase potential animal welfare benefits.
“We received approval to reduced the size of our brand two years ago, so now we only use a very small symbol and letter brand, rather than three large letters,” Mr Setter said.
“We haven’t had our customers talk to us about dehorning cattle as an issue yet, but it’s an issue we are aware of in the broader beef industry.”