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COMPARISON OF AFRIKANER- AND BRAHMAN- CROSS CATTLE IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA

  • Holmes, J.H.G. ;
  • McKinnon, M.J. ;
  • Seifert, G.W. ;
  • Schottler, J.H.
  • Received : 1991.05.06
  • Accepted : 1992.04.10
  • Published : 1992.09.01

Abstract

After the virtual eradication of cattle during World War II, Papua New Guinea herds were rebuilt with Shorthorn and Aberdeen Angus cattle from Australia. These, and Red Sindhi and Sahiwal, imported in 1952, were considered unsuitable breeds. In 1954, Department of Agriculture, Stock and Fisheries imported three Brahman bulls and three heifers from Texas and in 1960 began importations of Afrikaner from Queensland. In Central Province, Brahmans were crossed with Angus and at Erap (Morobe) the hottest place in Papua New Guinea, Shorthorns were crossed with Afrikaners. In 1965, Brahman and Brahman-cross were sent to Erap. Records of breeding and growth rates were collected for use in upgrading in cattle of the basis of performance, not pedigree. The data are not ideal for genetic analysis, since no control groups were maintained. Birth weights (BWT), weaning weights (WWT) and calving intervals (CI) were analysed for the period 1969-1978. After exclusion of unsatisfactory data, 2,514 calf records were used, including both breeds from 1969 to 1973, but only Brahman-cross subsequently. Breed mean BWT ranged only from 30.6 to 33.8 kg. As Brahman content increased, BWT decreased and WWT increased; within a genotype, there was a negative maternal effect of high Brahman content on BWT and a positive effect on WWT which ranged from 138 to 174 kg. Afrikaner calves had heavier BWT but lighter WWT. As expected, bulls were heaviest, heifers lightest and mature cows bore and reared heavier calves. Calving interval (405 days, equivalent to 90% calving) was unaffected by breed but 4-year old cows averaged 423 days. Breed differences in BWT and WWT are consistent with the body of literature on performance of Brahmans and Afrikaners. Since cattle tick are not present and internal parasites are insignificant at Erap, the superiority of Brahmans indicates that they were better at utilizing the mediocre quality grazing of the Markham Valley or were more heat tolerant. Performance selection over ten years resulted in the virtual elimination of Afrikaners, with the final genotype approximately 9/16 Brahman, 3/8 Shorthorn and 1/16 Afrikaner.

Keywords

Brahman;Afrikaner;Papua New Guinea;Weaning Weight;Reproduction