Agriculture and Food Systems - Theses

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    The parotid salivary secretion of sheep
    Wilson, A. D (1938-) ( 1963)
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    Beef-cattle production in the Western District of Victoria : technical and economic relationships between beef cattle and sheep
    Wills, I. R ( 1965)
    Sheep-and-wool production and beef-cattle production are combined on many grazing properties in the Western District of Victoria. In the past beef cattle have generally been regarded as less profitable than sheep as a sole enterprise on a per-acre basis. In previous surveys it has been found that graziers believe that sheep and beef-cattle complement one another in a variety of circumstances because of the different effects of the two types of animal on pasture. It has also been found that sheep and beef cattle on grazing properties are frequently supplementary with respect to labour. The thesis has two main objectives. First it investigates whether the currently available analytical models based on static economic theory are adequate to solve problems of resource allocation between sheep and beef cattle grazing the same pasture. Second, it investigates whether many graziers carry beef cattle partly or solely to satisfy goals other than profit maximisation. The method of achieving the first objective was to compare the static economic theory relating to enterprise combination, and published work dealing with the problem of selecting the optimum combination of two enterprises, with the real situation existing on grazing properties carrying both sheep and beef cattle. The second objective was investigated by means or an interview survey of graziers running both sheep and beef cattle in six Western District parishes. A considerable amount of technical information about beef-cattle production in the Western District was collected in the course of the survey, and the more important points are summarised in the thesis. Of particular interest are the findings that very few graziers purchased cattle for fattening purposes, and that beef cattle were relatively more important on large properties than on small properties. It was concluded that static economic theory does not provide an adequate basis for the description of the situation where sheep and cattle graze the same pasture, or for the determination of the optimum allocation of resources between sheep arid beef cattle grazing together. Sheep and cattle graze pasture differently, and therefore different pastures result as the sheep-cattle ratio is altered. In this situation, the postulates on which the iso-resource function is based, that the shared input or inputs should remain homogeneous and constant in quantity as the outputs of the products change, are violated. Thus strictly speaking it is not possible to derive a valid iso-resource function relating the sheep and beef-cattle enterprises with respect to pasture when the sheep and the cattle graze the same pasture. However, if the changes in the pasture are disregarded, it is possible to design experiments to produce practical approximations of iso-resource curves relating sheep and beef cattle. Information obtained from graziers in this and other surveys, and the results of experiments, strongly suggest that for practical purposes it is reasonable to think of an iso-resource curve for sheep and cattle with respect to pasture as being concave towards the origin, that is, the sacrifice rate of sheep for cattle increases as more cattle are added on a sheep property. Farmer estimates and experimental evidence suggests that the marginal sacrifice rate on most properties may be lower than is generally assumed (nutritional standards imply a linear rate of eight merino whethers per 1,000 lb. steer). Almost all the survey graziers believed that the overall relationship between their sheep and their beef cattle with respect to their total feed supply over the whole year was a competitive one. Most estimated that their sheep and their cattle were complementary or supplementary with respect to pasture over a part of the year, including the Spring, and that their sheep and their cattle competed for scarce pasture at some time in the autumn and winter. The survey results showed that the most important reason for the presence of beef cattle on the survey properties was the value of cattle in controlling and utilising pasture and weed growth. However the value 0f cattle for that purpose appeared to decline as the sheep stocking rate increased. It appeared that on many properties the importance of beef cattle in pasture control was a consequence of a desire on the part of the grazier to maximise profits within the restrictions imposed by limitations on sheep numbers including the grazier's desire to limit his personal effort. Beef cattle were also frequently carried for the reason that they provided a means of stabilising income from year to year. Although the survey results tended to confirm previous findings that sheep and beef cattle are supplementary with respect to labour at certain times during the year, and that beef cattle generally require less labour per unit of return than sheep, few graziers said that they carried beef cattle for those reasons. It was concluded that substantial minority of the survey graziers did carry beef cattle partly or solely to satisfy goals other than profit maximisation. The most important of these goals was the minimisation of personal effort, which was shown not by giving labour as a reason for carrying beef cattle, but indirectly in the affirmation of the value of cattle (rather than additional sheep) in pasture control. A few graziers were motivated by a personal preference for beef cattle. In the situation where the available economic theory is inadequate to solve problems of resource allocation between sheep and beef cattle, and where a substantial proportion of graziers carry beef cattle partly or solely for reasons other than profit maximisation, there is little scope for sophisticated economic procedures. Given additional experimental data to provide indicators of probable "substitution rates", it seems that the allocation of resources between sheep and beef cattle on properties such as those in the survey can best be improved by budgeting possible adjustments.
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    Studies in animal husbandry and agricultural history
    Peel, Lynnette Jean (1938-) ( 1963)
    About 8,000 years ago man began domesticating wild animals and turning their growth and production to his own use. Since this time considerable progress has been made towards the complete utilisation of domesticated animal products but only now is the efficiency of production of these products being investigated. To increase this efficiency a thorough understanding of animal body functions is essential. The importance to the ruminant of one body function - salivation, has not been established although various aspects of this subject have been investigated in recent years . To continue these investigations the development of total salivation in . lambs and the effects of the diversion of saliva on the rumen function in adult sheep were examined. In this second experiment the effects of anaesthesia and lateral recumbency on rumen function were also examined because if the use of these unnatural conditions in some experimental techniques. Some animals have been domesticated but many have not. Nearly 8,000 years have passed since the predecessors of our present day domesticated animals were tamed and conditions have changed considerably. Hence it is feasible that domesticated animals may be less efficient producers of the animal products we now need, than the wild animals. This may be particularly true with regard to protein production in the form of lean meat. To investigate this proposition a body composition study was made on a population of wild kangaroos, and an assessment made of this animal species as a potential producer of lean meat. Not only may the efficiency of agricultural production be increased by re-assessing the livestock potential, but this may also be achieved by re-assessing the agricultural use of any given area of land. In countries settled and developed by people from other countries, the new settlers have applied to the new land the agricultural practices of the old. This has often occurred inspite of vast physical differences between the two countries. The practices have been modified and adapted, the crops and livestock acclimatised, nevertheless the whole range of possible forms of agriculture are usually never investigated. In southern Victoria, for almost a century, vines were grown by European settlers had been familiar with these plants in their own countries. The success and failure of the cultivation of this crop by Europeans in a country very different from their own is examined in the second part of this thesis.
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    Nutritional studies of the young lamb
    Hodge, Russell ( 1967)
    This thesis is based on original research work in a subject approved by the Faculty of Agriculture and is submitted under regulation 3.28 Section 6(a) of the conditions relating to the degree of Master of Agricultural Science. The experiments presented have been published in the Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture and Animal Husbandry or in the Proceedings of the Australian Society of Animal Production. They were conducted while the author was a member of the Victorian Department of Agriculture which provided the facilities for this work. The first chapter of the thesis is a review of the literature on the digestibility of milk and solid food by the young ruminant - more specifically the calf and the lamb. The second chapter describes two experiments on the apparent digestibility of ewes milk and dried pasture by young lambs and the third chapter comprises two experiments relating to the effect of milk intake on the pasture consumption of lambs. The fourth chapter reports observations on the diet selected by grazing lambs in relation to older sheep. I was responsible for the design of this experiment, was actively associated with the field work and prepared the manuscript for publication. The fifth chapter is a paper on the effect of nutritional restriction during pregnancy on the reproductive performance of crossbred ewes and the subsequent growth of their lambs. The sixth chapter provides summaries of the experiments presented.
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    Studies with annual Medicago species in the wheat belt
    Amor, R. L. (1937-) ( 1965)
    This thesis was prepared while the author was employed with the Victorian Department of Agriculture at the Mallee Research Station, Walpeup, and at the Longerenong Agricultural College, Dooen. It is in the form of five papers. The first is a review on the place of barrel medic (Medicago tribuloides Desr) in the Australian wheat belt. The review was published in J. Aust. Inst. Agric. Sci. (1965) 31: 25-35. This provides the background information for the experimental work which is prefaced by a section on climate and soils at Walpeup. The experimental work is concerned with a comparison of four annual medics in pure swards, competition between two annual medics, root studies, and the residual effect of superphosphate on medic pastures in the year after a wheat crop.