About Me Hi! My name is Jacinta. Becoming a Vet has been a life-long goal of mine.Gaining entry into Veterinary Science has given me the opportunity to take one more step towards reaching my goal.
In 2008 I moved to Wagga Wagga to begin my studies in Veterinary Science at Charles Sturt UniversityPicture sourced from:http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/be/CSUWaggaEntrance.jpg/270px-CSUWaggaEntrance.jpg
Studying vet science for two years has taught memore then I ever expected.The role of a vet in practice is greater then justtreating and caring for sick animals. Vets can beinvolved in a variety of fields that cover thewhole production system.My studies include aspects of agriculture as wellas the traditional veterinary science subjectssuch as anatomy and physiology. Linking thesetogether is the AHEMS program.
AHEMS gives me the opportunity togain hands on experience in a varietyof live-stock industries.I learn:To apply knowledge learnt in classTo gain knowledge about the rolevets play in various industries.To communicate with others in thecommunity. To practice and learn new skills inanimal handling and diseaseprevention.About new innovative techniquesbeing developed and utilised inindustries.To recognise the importance ofenvironmental and economic factorsin agriculture.
None ‘tasting’ better then the fresh salmon I was offered whilst working at Huon Aquaculture in Tasmania.... Appropriately nicknamed “Sammy”
HAC farms primarily Atlantic Salmon.Whilst at HAC I was able to work with thefollowing teams:-Health team- Industry vet- Research team-Dive team-Nutrition teamEach team, although working separately,are inevitably interconnected. Thisensures an efficient production systemcapable of meeting the salmon’s health,nutritional and welfare needs.
I also learnt valuable skills including:-Monitoring dissolved oxygen levels.-Monitoring feed dispersals and intake to ensure nutritionalrequirements are met. This is important as over feeding leads to netfouling and increases economic waste.-Monitoring disease levels and preventing foreign disease entry intoAustralia.
Fishy Facts: “Salmon begin life in fresh water as „fry‟ before acclimatising to salt water by undergoing a physiological change. The brackish water(mixture of fresh and salt water)of the Huon River is ideal for this.”“Fully developed Salmon are treated for diseases such as amoebic gill disease (AGD) by giving them a fresh water bath”
I completed my poultry AHEMS at one of Red Lea’s Parent flocks. The purpose of a parent flock is to rear breeders and supply eggs for broiler production. Broiler’s supply the market with ‘chicken meat.’
Red Lea’s Menangle property is an all-in all-out system. This is beneficial for biosecurity purposes. At the end of the production cycle, all saw dust and the manure contained within it is removed from the shed and recycled as fertiliser. Chicken manure is commonly used to improve pastures as it is high in organic carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus.
Chicken facts:-Egg fertility can bedetermined by shinning alight on top of the egg. Fertileeggs possess an air sac andprominent vein system.Infertile eggs are clear.- Chicks are vaccinated ‘inovo,’ that is, a single needlepunctures the egg shell andinjects the unhatched chick.
Clover Hill Dairies consists of twoproperties located in Jamberoo, NSW.Here I was involved in the day to dayrunning of a dairy including:• Mixing the ration• Feeding and tendering to the calves• Rounding up the cows• Milking•Detecting and treating lameness andmastitis
I was also able to attend the ‘PooTour 08’ which visited a selectionof dairies on the South Coast toreview their effluent systems.Discussions focused on the ease,cost and effectiveness ofdifferent effluent systems atcleaning dairies and recyclingthe water used.Clover Hill was featured in thetour showcasing the array ofsustainable practices they areinvolved in. Upgradinginfrastructure, developing stockand machinery access routes,fencing off native vegetation andwater ways and replantingvegetation are part of their longterm plan to reduce theproperties impact on theenvironment and improve thewellbeing of the cattle.
Furthermore, I learnt while at Clover Hill the importance of not only improving your own system, but alsosharing the knowledge gained with the wider community to benefit all.
Dairy fact“Individual cows are capable ofproducing 80 litres of milk per day”
At Lindsay Park I was able to experience first hand theprocesses involved in breeding and training race horses.I was able to spend time with the farriers, saddler, riders,stable hand, vet nurses, vets and trainers, enabling me toacknowledge and appreciate the role each has in ensuringthe safety, health and welfare of the horses.
Two of my fondestmemories included: watching a barrier trialheld on one of theproperties three tracks seeing my first foalingafter fourattempts at night watch!
Horse Treadmill Surgery Room Corrective shoeing Horse Facts: Horses are lead into the surgery before being anesthetised and knocked down onto purposely built operating tables. Foot and leg abnormalities can be treated at a young age using corrective shoeing Horses can be trained on specially built treadmills
....And I hope Ipicked up a few‘tips’ along theway!!!!
PIC at Grong Grong runs anucleus herd of pigs,producing both geneticallyimproved sows and boars.At the time of my prac, trialswere being undertaken tobreed pigs negative to therecessive halothane gene – agene that has been linked toPorcine stress syndrome.Presence of this gene resultsin multi-factorial economicallosses .
Biosecurity is very important for PIC. The property runs on a shower-in shower-out routine; clothing and foot wear is provided and contact with other pigs is prohibited within 72-96 hours of working with PIC stock. The importance of biosecurity has been shown by the recent Equine and Swine influenza out-breaks. Water is recycled at the property. All excrement is flushed out of the sheds and left to settle in large dams, allowing the water to be re-used. Carcases and soiled straw are also recycled by a local company who turns it into soil.
I loved spendingtime in thefarrowing shedwhere the pigletsare born, but boydo they have a goodset of lungs!
Piggy facts:• Sows have a gestation period of threemonths, three weeks and three days!•Pigs are one of the smartestdomesticated animals.
Thugga is a mixed sheep, cattleand cropping property, ownedand managed by the Pitsonfamily.Being a mixed enterprisemakes the businesseconomically advantageous fora variety of reasons. Cattletend to eat different grasses tosheep and therefore pastureavailability can be optimisedby rotationally grazing thedifferent livestock species.Such diversity also makes theoperation flexible to marketchanges.
Recent government grants have funded projects to fence off the local creek and plant vegetation belts. Further work is planned in the future to increase vegetation in other areas of the property. Vegetation is important as it provides shade, protection from the wind and lowers the water table. During my time spent with the Pitson’s, I was able to visit a Limousin cattle sale and observe muscle scanning of bulls. Genetic evaluation and the use of estimated breeding value’s (EBV) is common in the beef industry. This allows farmers to produce cattle destined for specific markets.
Cattle fact:•Cows have microbialpopulations living in theirstomach that aid in thedigestion of food.
Social Implications Communication is essential and is an integral part of my course. To be able to talk to producers about their product aids in identifying potential areas of improvement and is an efficient means of identifying problems. Communication tutorials have given me the skills to be able to consult with members of the community.
And a little ‘socialising’ isalways fun, to practice theskills learnt of course! We even dress like animals............. ‘J’ is for Jellyfish!
Environmental Implications AHEMS has taught me the importance of utilising and developing sustainable practices as the key for future success. Each of the companies I was fortunate to work with are continuously working to improve their production system with respect to the environment. This is achieved through continual research, improving technology, recycling waste and fencing off important parts of each property. Each are an example of how such practices can reduce costs, minimise impact on the environment and improve animal welfare.
Economic Implications The aim of production is to increase profits by optimising the quality and quantity of the product and decreasing the cost of production. I have learnt how the product can be improved by:- Upgrading pastures and/or feeding quality concentrate- Selecting genetically superior livestock for breeding I have also learnt how costs can be decreased by:- Preventing disease and treating illness early- Refining the production cycle- Reducing labour cost through efficient system designs I have also seen first hand the importance of benchmarking current performance and setting future goals and objectives.
And it’s alwaysreassuring toknow..... There is always someone looking out to guide me as I learn
Studying Veterinary Science has given me experiences and hastaught me skills I never thought I’d otherwise have theopportunity to do.It has allowed me to meet new people, both at university and onpracs, who have shown me and broadened my understandingabout the role vets play in livestock production both socially,environmentally and economically.I hope that the skills and knowledge I have gained will help me inthe future in advising others about how they can improve theirproduct.
All pictures (excluding slide 3) have been sourced from my personal collection. I thank the following properties for the opportunity to complete my AHEMS with them:- Huon Aquaculture Company- Red Lea, Menangle- Clover Hill Dairies- Pig Improvement Company- Lindsay Park Racing- The Pitson Family