Production Animal Science
What will I study?
In the Production Animal Science major, you will study subjects designed to develop your understanding of biochemistry and microbiology in an agricultural context. You will apply this knowledge in a range of third-year topics including animal disease, production and growth, behaviour and welfare, including this major’s capstone subject, Production Animal Physiology.
You can choose to spend Semester 2 of your second year at Dookie campus, where you can observe a wide variety of farming industries first-hand including cropping, livestock and dairy management, horticulture and viticulture enterprises, as well as support industries such as irrigation management, logistics and food processing operations.
Explore this major
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this major.
- Farm Management Economics12.5
Farm Management Economics
The aim of this subject is for students of agricultural science and agricultural economics to understand the principles of management economics applied to the operation of agricultural business; to understand decision analysis under risk and uncertainty; to be able to model and analyse agricultural systems; to be able to analyse agricultural investment and evaluate the profitability and sources, and business risk and financial risk of alternative resource uses in agricultural businesses; evaluate business growth strategies; and understand agricultural price risk management strategies.
The content of the subject is as follows:
- The whole farm approach
- Farm business management
- Farm activity analysis
- Production economic and financial analysis
- Agricultural systems analysis
- Farm benefit cost analysis
- Risky decision analysis
- Agricultural risk management
A number of case studies will be completed based on real farm business situations.
- Applied Animal Behaviour12.5
Applied Animal Behaviour
This subject allows students to examine the behaviour of farm, companion and laboratory animals and highlights the processes and factors involved in cause and effect manipulating behavioural functionality. The subject will train students to describe, record and measure behaviour, examine the development of behaviour in a range of species; examine the effects of stimuli and communications; motivation, decision making, learning and memory; genetic and hormonal basis of behaviour; organisation, social, sexual, maternal, and dam-neonate interactions.
Topics covered include:
- Describing, recording and measuring behaviour; development of behaviour
- Stimuli and communication
- Motivation and decision making
- Learning and memory
- Genetic influences on behaviour
- Hormonal influences on behaviour
- Organisation of behaviour
- Social behaviour; sexual behaviour
- Maternal behaviour and dam-neonate interactions; and behavioural problems
- Applied Animal Reproduction & Genetics12.5
Applied Animal Reproduction & Genetics
The aim of this subject is to give students of animal science a fundamental understanding of both applied reproductive biology and genetics. This will enable students to develop the skills necessary for management of reproductive performance and to implement genetic improvement of domestic animals. The content includes comparative structure and function of reproductive organs; endocrinology and neuro-endocrinology of reproductive cycles; environmental and genetic influences on reproduction, interventions to manipulate reproduction; reproductive biotechnologies including cloning; breeding values and selection indices; inbreeding and crossbreeding; applied animal genomics.
- Animal Welfare and Ethics12.5
Animal Welfare and Ethics
This subject develops knowledge and understanding of systems for regulating body function, and physiological and behavioural processes that are utilised by animals in response to environmental challenges. This basis will allow students to evaluate and assess animal welfare and ethical issues that confront livestock production and amenity use of animals in society. The subject will also develop knowledge in adaptation, preference testing, cognition, and short and long-term biological responses.
Specific topics covered include;
- The current debate about animal usage and animal welfare
- Systems regulating the body (homeostasis, motivation and control systems, and development of regulatory systems)
- Limits to adaptation (stimulation, tolerance and coping, variation in adaptation)
- Stress and welfare (Selye’s concept of stress and refinements to the concept, coping and fitness, definition of welfare and its assessment)
- Assessing welfare using short-term and long-term biological responses
- Assessing welfare using preference testing
- Assessing welfare by studying cognitive skills
- Ethical problems concerning welfare
- Welfare issues in agriculture and the general community; and codes of practice for the welfare of livestock and welfare solutions
- Production Animal Health12.5
Production Animal Health
This subject introduces students to the management of the major factors influencing the health of production animals. Students will learn the principles of disease and how different aspects of disease impact on production systems. Students should develop an understanding of how management factors can influence the development of disease in production animals, and how the type of production system can alter the risk of disease. Students will consider significant non-infectious and infectious diseases and how they are managed from the point of view of the whole production system.
- Managing Production Animal Health12.5
Managing Production Animal Health
In this subject, students will develop their understanding of the major factors influencing the health of production animals and understand how management of a production system is key to maximizing health, productivity and profitability. Students will learn about some of the important infectious agents that can affect the major production animal species in Australia with a particular focus on the importance of parasites. This will include obtaining an understanding of the economics of these parasitic diseases within various Australian production management systems and the need for a holistic approach to management to ensure optimal health and productivity.
Students will also learn to interpret data from production systems, in order to evaluate productivity as well as develop an understanding of the financial limitations on production systems, and how health and management strategies must fit within an economical framework, otherwise the business is not viable.
- Sustainable Food Systems12.5
Sustainable Food Systems
The Australian food industry plays an important role in the Australian economy. The industry encompasses a number of segments from agricultural production, food processing and distribution through to retail sales. A key feature of the food industry is its diversity. The future of the industry will be affected by how well it responds to the changing demands of society.
This subject introduces students to food production systems and challenges them to create more sustainable approaches to this production. Topics include, food production in Australia - where it happens and why - how it is changing to meet both the needs of the environment and society, associated impacts on the sustainability of regional communities, trade and policy issues which impact on distribution, global food movements and ongoing changes and innovations in global food markets, as well as resource economics implications in developing and developed countries. Future implications of policy and legislative and other changes will be assessed in terms of their impact on the changing structure of food production in Australia.
- Ecology and Grazing Management12.5
Ecology and Grazing Management
Pastures and grasslands comprise the dominant vegetation cover across the Australian continent. The way pastures and grasslands are managed is therefore central to the sustainable use of natural resources such as soil and water, as well as the economic development of the pasture-based livestock industries (meat and wool sheep, beef cattle, and dairy).
This subject will include:
- An overview of Australia's pasture and grassland resources
- The population biology of pasture plants, including the growth cycles of annual and perennial plants, and pathways of plant survival
- The major pasture plant species and pasture types, their agronomic and adaptive characteristics and management requirements
- Pasture improvement principles and practices
- Plant and pasture growth processes influencing the accumulation of yield in pastures, and implications for management
- The feeding and nutritive value of pastures and factors affecting animal intake
- The principles and practices of grazing management
- Animal Physiology and Growth12.5
Animal Physiology and Growth
Physiology is the integrative study of the control of normal body function. This subject will examine the functions of different cell types and their interactions in organs and tissues; mechanisms by which organs are controlled and their functions are regulated; thermoregulatory processes and fluid balance; the physiology of the nervous system, of digestion, circulation, respiration, and excretion; the processes of growth and development, and factors that can be manipulated to alter animal performance under normal conditions.
- Comparative Nutrition and Digestion12.5
Comparative Nutrition and Digestion
This subject allows students to develop an awareness of the major physiological processes and metabolic basis of nutritional requirements; to understand the nutritional qualities of food, and develop skills to ensure a balanced diet can be formulated for a range of mammals; to be familiar with the impact of dietary imbalances; and to understand the role of food in behavioural, psychological and social contexts.
- Microbiology in Agriculture12.5
Microbiology in Agriculture
This subject introduces students to the diverse world of microbiology and the roles that microorganisms play in all aspects of agriculture, including animal, plant and soil science. The basic structure and biology of microorganisms will be covered, with a focus on bacteria, viruses and fungi. Aspects of molecular biology and genetics will also be introduced. The role that microorganisms play within the environment, in particular relating to plant, animal and soil health, will also be considered. The use of microorganisms in agricultural biotechnology is also discussed, including examples such as genetic modification of plants and the use of microorganisms in the expression of recombinant proteins.