CAFE, Linda

Linda Cafe

Research interests

Livestock temperament and behaviour – the relationships between cattle temperament and productivity, product quality, physiology and welfare. Improving the understanding and measurement of temperament. Livestock welfare.

Muscling in beef cattle – selection for visual muscle score in British cattle breeds. The impacts on carcase yield and quality, maternal productivity, genetic and physiological factors.

Background

Linda joined the Department as a technical officer at Grafton Research Station in 2002. She moved to the Armidale Beef Centre in 2005, and after completing her PhD gained a research position in 2010. With a background in ruminant nutrition and rangelands research, she has a broad understanding of livestock systems. Since the retirement of Bill McKiernan she has been the Principal Researcher responsible for the research program on the nationally recognised DPI muscling selection line cattle herd.

Linda collaborates with colleagues from DPI and other research and industry organisations, including the team at Glen Innes Research Station to ensure that this important cattle resource is utilised and applied to solving industry issues.

Linda conducted her PhD on a number of aspects of cattle temperament, and she maintains an interest in this area of research. She is interested in further developing this research to include temperament in broader cattle welfare research.

Qualifications

  • B Agr Sc in Animal Production – University of Queensland 1991
  • M Agr Sc “The growth and compositional response of the hindlimb of the sheep to amino acid infusion” – University of Queensland 2003
  • PhD “Cattle Temperament and stress-responsiveness in relation to productivity efficiency and beef quality” – University of New England 2011

Current projects

DPI Muscling Selection Line Herd – the herd is currently part of the Angus Sire Benchmarking Project. This project allows the collection of valuable data on growth, feed efficiency and carcase characteristics of steer progeny from the herd, and fertility and calving performance of the heifer progeny.

Funding is currently being sought to collect retail beef yield data on the steers to gain additional valuable information from the project. Due to the divergent body composition of the selection lines, the herd is also providing suitable animals and data for validation and development of the Beef Specs model, and for the development of 3D cameras for objective animal assessment.

Threat Perception in Cattle – this project is assessing the relationships between current cattle temperament measures and novel measures of anxiety in cattle. The aim is to gain a deeper understanding of aspects of temperament, with a view to providing improved measures in the future.  Linda is collaborating with the Welfare group at CSIRO, Chiswick in this research.

Recent publications

Cafe LM, McKiernan WA, Robinson DL. Selection for increased muscling is not detrimental to maternal productivity traits in Angus cows. Animal Production Science, Maternal Productivity Special Edition, In Press. Published Online October 2015.

Cafe LM, McKiernan WA, Robinson DL (2014) Selection for increased muscling improved feed efficiency and carcase characteristics of Angus steers. Animal Production Science 54: 1412-1416.

Robinson DL, Cafe LM, McKiernan WA (2014) Heritability of muscle score and genetic and phenotypic relationships with weight, fatness and eye muscle area in beef cattle. Animal Production Science 54: 1443-1448

Cafe LM, McKiernan WA, Robinson DL (2013) Using muscling selection line cows to inform maternal productivity modelling MLA final report for project B.SBP.0085.

Cafe LM, McIntyre BL, Robinson DL, Geesink GH, Barendse W, and Greenwood PL (2010) Production and processing studies on calpain-system gene markers for tenderness in cattle: 1. Growth, efficiency, temperament and carcass characteristics. J. Anim. Sci. 88: 3047-3058

Cafe LM, McIntyre BM, Robinson DL, Geesink GH, Barendse W, Pethick DW, Thompson JM, and Greenwood PL (2010) Production and processing studies on calpain-system gene markers for tenderness in Brahman cattle 2. Objective meat quality. J. Anim. Sci. 88: 3059-3069.

Cafe LM, Robinson DL, Ferguson DM, McIntyre BL, Geesink GH, and Greenwood PL (2011) Cattle temperament: persistence of assessments and associations with productivity, efficiency, carcass and meat quality traits. J Anim. Sci. 89: 1452-1465.

Cafe LM, Robinson DL, Ferguson DM, Geesink GH, and Greenwood PL (2011). Temperament and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function are related and combine to affect growth, efficiency, carcass and meat quality traits in Brahman steers. Domest. Anim. Endocrinol. 40: 230-240.

Greenwood PL, Cafe LM, McIntyre BL, Geesink GH, Thompson JM, Polkinghorne R, Pethick DW, and Robinson DL (2013) Molecular value predictions: Associations with beef quality, carcass, production, behavior, and efficiency phenotypes in Brahman cattle. Journal of Animal Science 91, 5912-5925.

Professional associations and activities

  • Member Australian Society of Animal Production

Fields of research

  • 070202 Animal Growth and Development
  • 070201 Animal Breeding
  • 070203 Animal Management
  • 070207 Humane Animal Treatment

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

Beef cattle, temperament, behaviour, stress physiology, livestock welfare, productivity, muscle score, retail beef yield, breeding and genetics.

Contact details

Email: linda.cafe@dpi.nsw.gov.au
Location: NSW DPI Beef Industry Centre