Braidwood Cattle Enterprise
Impacts on production and profitability
The impacts on pasture and livestock production and farm profitability, based on a “business as usual” model for a self replacing beef cattle herd for weaner production at Braidwood are shown below:
- Compared to the period 1970-1999, in 2000-2009:
- Annual pasture production was down by xxx, requiring stocking rate to be reduced by xxx, to maintain ground cover. But profitability was down by xxx.
- Looking forward to 2030, compared to the base period 1970 – 1999, the 4 different climate scenarios showed:
- Annual pasture production was down by 5%, requiring stocking rate to be reduced by an average of 38% to maintain ground cover. All climate scenarios indicated a significant reduction in stocking rate was required
- Seasonal pasture growth rates and stocking rate will be significantly impacted by the rainfall and temperature impacts.
- lower median monthly rainfall in the critical months of April and May making Autumn the greatest concern.
- monthly median temperatures are consistently higher for all GCM’s except for some minimums.
- temperature increases are greatest in spring summer and autumn. The first and last frost days are likely to be later and earlier respectively.
- The potential impact on farm profits predicted from the 4 GCMs’ was that farm beef cattle enterprises (weaner and feeder steer) will be extremely slow to recover. Weaner production profitability was 169% down in 2030, with all climate scenarios showing negative profitability
The impact of adaptations
The following table shows the impact of various adaptations on the profitability of a beef enterprise in Braidwood
- Several adaptations had a negative impact on farm profitability
- Increasing soil fertility and changing the enterprise to feeder steer production resulted in positive changes to profitability
- A multi-strategy approach seems to be the most appropriate for future challenges (a combination of genetic improvement + droughtlot + increase soil fertility + enterprise change)
- While these strategies indicate benefits in the future, they are also beneficial in today’s environment