Animal welfare a key driver of productivity on Birrindudu Station

Having seen the positive impact administering pain relief has made to animal welfare on Heytesbury Cattle Company’s Birrindudu Station, Kylie Hutley now describes it as ‘the only way forward’ for the cattle industry.

Kylie and her husband Lance manage the 673,200 hectare Birrindudu Station, about 695 km south-west of Katherine in the Northern Territory. They currently run 27,000 head of cattle on the property, with castration and dehorning part of their normal animal husbandry practices.

“These are procedures and practices that we have to do in our industry, especially in the markets we supply, so we’re always looking for ways to handle cattle as quietly and as low-stress as possible,” Kylie explains.

“If you can find the master key to our practices for less stress and limiting pain, I think that’s the best outcome, and that’s what really triggered us to start using Tri-Solfen”.

Kylie first came across Tri-Solfen® from Bayer a few years ago after reading an article in a trade newspaper about how the product was undergoing the testing phase of development. Tri-Solfen is the first product of its kind to address the legitimate animal welfare concerns associated with routine animal husbandry procedures.

“Being a passionate animal welfare advocate, I thought this was something big,” she recalls.

“Pain relief is one of our biggest issues in this industry, so I followed through with some research on that. Then there was an opportunity at a Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association conference to go to a workshop and watch a small display on Tri-Solfen.”

The product is a topical anaesthetic and antiseptic solution for pain relief and better wound care for use on calves during castration, and now recently approved for use on calves at disbudding and dehorning.

Tri-Solfen contains two proven topical local anaesthetics; fast-acting lignocaine for immediate pain relief and long-acting bupivacaine for prolonged post-operative pain relief. Adrenaline is included for its ability to reduce blood loss, whilst prolonging the anaesthetic action. Tri-Solfen also contains cetrimide, an antiseptic widely used to cleanse skin and provide wound protection from bacterial contamination. The product's gel base adheres and protects the wound, facilitating wound healing.

“Here in the Territory you’re dealing with large mobs of cattle, so you tend to find you’re putting a lot of calves through the yards. The quickest practice is to get those breeders back out with their calves.”

It’s on this point that Kylie says she has noticed the biggest difference when using Tri-Solfen during castration and dehorning.

“When calves are treated with Tri-Solfen, they walk around through the mob in the yards straight away, and mum picks them up a lot quicker,” she explains.

“Also, when you’re walking them out, they’ll walk the distance, they won’t lay down. It’s like they’re not under as much stress or as much pain as what they would have been without Tri-Solfen.

“It’s the same when it’s used on weaners, you walk them straight out of the yard when they’re processed, and they will walk for ten kilometres without any problems at all.”

Kylie says Tri-Solfen is very cost-effective, commenting that the decision to introduce it into the practices on Birrindudu Station was a ‘no-brainer’.

“From an animal welfare perspective, I think this is the only way forward for our industry. There are practices that we have to do and I think that Tri-Solfen is one of those key practices. While it’s not a substitute for what we do, I think it’s showing that we are putting the interests of the cattle first.

“I think if industry can follow that path, that’s the best that we can do, and we’re doing the right thing by our animals that we’re working with.”

Kylie believes any cattleman who has the best interests of the cattle at heart would choose to use Tri-Solfen.

“You’ll see the short-term benefits immediately, and it has long-term benefits for the cattle also,” she comments.

“My strong advice to producers who are not using Tri-Solfen would be to give it a go. You’ll see the results and you won’t turn back.”

Tri-Solfen® is a registered trademark of Animal Ethics Pty Ltd.

Source: Heytesbury Cattle Company

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