Holbrook – Beef 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 cattle enterprise at Holbrook are shown below:
- This cattle enterprise (breeding feeder steers) does not perform well in a changing climate
- Compared to the period 1970-1999, in 2000-2009:
- Annual pasture production was down by 12%, requiring stocking rate to be reduced by a significant 30% to maintain ground cover. But profitability was down by a massive 92%.
- Looking forward to 2030, compared to the base period 1970 – 1999, the 4 different climate scenarios showed:
- Annual pasture production was down by 3%, requiring stocking rate to be reduced by an average of 23% to maintain ground cover, even though one climate scenario (English) saw pasture production increase and stocking rate remain constant
- Winter pasture production is increased but autumn and spring drops.
- All models predict a less profitable business unless producers make adaptions Profitability was down across all 4 scenarios by 57% on average, but with a huge range (-7% to -101%)
The impact of adaptations
The following table shows the impact of various adaptations on the profitability of a breeding feeder steer enterprise at Holbrook
- Calving earlier in the season (early July) may better balance stock feed demand with pasture growth, and help maintain profits
- Locking up cattle during periods of poor pasture growth will help maintain the pasture base and lift profits
- Early weaning calves and feeding them a high energy and adequate protein ration will also help maintain profits.
- Stocking rates can be balanced with available pasture through trading cattle. However the price paid relative to the price received will have a large effect on the profitability of doing this.
- Future climate will have a significant effect on beef production in this area
- Beef producers can and will change their business to reflect the change in climate influencing pasture availability in Holbrook
- They will need to be flexible in their stocking rates, and look at alternative use of pasture in better seasons