Goulburn – Beef cattle – Impacts and 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 self-replacing beef cattle herd for feeder steer production at Goulburn 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
- Profitability was down by xxx% as a result
- Looking forward to 2030, compared to the base period 1970 – 1999, the 4 different climate scenarios showed:
- To maintain minimum ground cover, a decrease in stocking rate (DSE/ha) was needed (average 31%), even for the model which had higher annual pasture production.
- The reduced stocking rates lowered profits by 62 % on average, with a large range of -35% to -102%.
- Winter pasture production is increased but autumn and spring drops.
The impact of adaptations
The following table shows the impact of various adaptations on the profitability of a beef cattle enterprise in Goulburn
- Continued genetic improvement between now and 2030 is critical to offsetting the decreased stocking rate.
- Using summer feedlots in the years when required is usually an effective ways to manage minimum ground cover and utilise the extra winter production, however, compared to other locations, Goulburn has the least benefit from this strategy.
- Combining the use of genetic improvement, summer feedlots, improved soil fertility has the biggest benefit now and in the future.