Water a calming solution for cattle stress

Zach RelphCountryman
Roebuck Export Depot manager John Scott says animal welfare is a priority at the facility, near Broome.
Camera IconRoebuck Export Depot manager John Scott says animal welfare is a priority at the facility, near Broome. Credit: Zach Relph

A cattle facility in the State’s north plans to implement an innovative livestock calming supplement into its water systems in an effort to maintain cattle weight and shore up animal welfare.

The Indigenous Land and Sea Council-controlled Roebuck Export Depot, about 30km east of Broome, was set to use water soluble calming solution to reduce cattle stress from company DIT Technologies.

The UCALM supplement, the brainchild of DIT founder Mark Peart, was already used aboard Wellard-owned livestock vessels during cattle voyages.

It encourages feeding during or after transport to ensure cattle maintain conditioning.

Roebuck Export Depot manager John Scott told Countryman the supplement would bolster the depot’s cattle feeding strategy, with Narrogin-sourced oat and hay also on its menu.

The depot boasts a 15,000 head maximum capacity, if cattle weigh 300kg on average, and averages a throughput of 63,000 annually.

To November this year, it had recorded a throughput of 85,000 cattle with about 56,000 cattle being sent to live export and the remainder sent to domestic processors amid WA’s dry conditions.

Roebuck Export Depot manager John Scott.
Camera IconRoebuck Export Depot manager John Scott. Credit: Zach Relph

Given the large-scale operation, Mr Scott said advancing animal welfare at the facility was paramount.

“We are always looking at new avenues to improve efficiency and animal welfare,” he said.

“Animal welfare is our main aim and it a top priority because it leads to better income streams for the supply chain.”

DIT, a Queensland ag-tech developer, completed its first welfare trials with Wellard aboard the Ocean Ute in May during a journey to Vietnam.

The Toowoomba-based company, which is planning to set up a headquarters in Perth, added its calming supplement to the ship’s drinking water during the testing with more than 600 treated cattle.

Mr Peart said he was confident the supplement would be effective at the Roebuck Export Depot.

“When the animals arrive after transport, we are supplementing the glucose in the water,” he said.

“It allows them to come more active, rather than just eating hay, plus it also has magnesium in it which gives the calming effect.

“It keeps conditioning and stops shrink... we want to get the cattle back on the feed after transport so exporters don’t lose money from shrink.”

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