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Holbrook – Beef Impacts & Adaptations – Southern Livestock Adaptation 2030

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:

Holbrook Beef Impacts Adaptations Table - 1

Key findings

  • 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

Holbrook Beef Impacts Adaptations Table - 2

Key findings

  • 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