Tuesday, 26 November 2019 11:13

Why the stripes?

Written by  Milking It

An experiment on a herd of cows in central Japan appears to have proven a radical, nature-inspired solution to a pest problem plaguing farmers.

Zebras and their gaudy coats have long intrigued scientists, spawning theories on how and why a few equine species developed stripes. A consensus emerged: the zigzag pattern was an evolutionary response to biting insects, especially carriers of deadly diseases. Insects, it seems, have a harder time landing on striped surfaces than solid-colored ones.

If it works for wild horses in Africa, why not cows in a Japanese pasture? So pondered the staff of the Aichi Agricultural Research Center, near the city of Nagoya. Together with agri school colleagues at Kyoto University, the center decided to experiment on its herd of Japanese black cattle. The white-striped cows sustained only half as many bug attacks as either of the other groups. 

More like this

Mealybug warnings

As mealybugs gain a foothold in Central Otago, grapegrowers are being urged to be vigilant for signs of Grapevine Leafroll-associated Virus Type 3 (leafroll 3) in vines.

Getting on top of a lousy problem

For strong wool sheep, lice infection is a nuisance more than a hefty financial cost. But, for fine wool sheep the financial toll is much greater. 

Featured

 

Quality beef bulls wanted

Making quality beef genetics easier for dairy farmers to access is the aim of a new industry partnership.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Caught out?

Was Fonterra caught napping in Australia?

Celebrity welfare

Wannabe kiwi James Cameron is back in the country, under a special visa, to continue filming his movie during the…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter