THE Queensland Government has given the partnership of The University of Queensland, James Cook University and the Nindooinbah Pastoral Company $250,000 for research into improving tick resistance in beef cattle.
The funding was part of the Palaszczuk Government’s Advance Queensland Innovation Partnerships program and aims to identify naturally tick-resistant animals by examining the content of exosomes.
Exosomes are small spherical vesicles that are made by every cell in a cow’s body and are transported throughout the body in blood.
Nindooinbah Pastoral Company operate an Angus, Ultrablack and Brangus herd and manager Nick Cameron said cattle ticks were a serious issue for the Queensland beef industry.
“It is a problem that will only worsen as current treatments against cattle tick are increasingly ineffective,” he said.
It is estimated that ticks cause production losses of $160 million each year in Australia and globally up to $US30 billion.
Acting Minister for Agriculture, Dr Anthony Lynham said many of the current treatments, such as pesticides, were simply not working.
“Some cattle are naturally able to prevent ticks from infestation, and any research which is able to identify and select breeds will directly lead to increases in profitability, productivity and sustainability,” he said.
Professor Murray Mitchell, an affiliate of the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation at The University of Queensland, said developing a method of early identification of naturally tick-resistant animals would be a significant improvement in herd selection, and boost productivity in the state’s beef industry.
“If successful, the flow-on effects of this project for the beef industry will be saving millions of dollars in fighting against cattle ticks,” he said.
This research is just one of 23 initiatives funded under two rounds of the Advance Queensland Innovation Partnerships program, totalling more than $16.7 million.