Culcairn – Sheep – Prime Lamb Impacts & Adaptations
Impacts on production and profitability
The impacts on pasture and livestock production and farm profitability, based on a “business as usual” model for a prime lamb enterprise at Culcairn are shown below:
- Compared to the period 1970-1999, in 2000-2009:
- Annual pasture production was down by 20% requiring a 43% reduction in stocking rate. Profitability was down by over 100% as a result (a loss).
- Looking forward to 2030, compared to the base period 1970 – 1999, the 4 different climate scenarios showed:
- Stocking rates will be lower (-7% on average) to maintain a sustainable pasture base
- Two of the four models predict a less profitable business unless producers make adaptations, while the other two models show an increase in profit
- On average, profitability is down 14% but care needs to be taken in interpreting this result because of the variability (a range of +58% to -124%)
- May is the optimal lambing month across all climate systems modelled
The impact of adaptations
The following table shows the impact of various adaptations on the profitability of a prime lamb enterprise at Culcairn
- The benefit of including 20% lucerne in the pasture mix was examined.
- Having 20% of the pasture area as lucerne increases overall profit by approximately 16% when the four GCMS are averaged.
- The optimal lambing date remains similar with a May/ June lambing as a result of a slight shift in pasture growth towards the end of the year.
- Further modelling is required to assess if there are further benefits with increased area of lucerne.
- To achieve the ground cover target the German model reduced stocking rate significantly.
- Further modelling is required to assess the benefits of summer feedlots in helping to maintain ground cover while increasing stocking rate.