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Lockhart – Sheep – Prime Lamb Impacts & Adaptations – Southern Livestock Adaptation 2030

Lockhart – 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 Lockhart are shown below:

Lockhart Sheep Prime Lamb Impacts Adaptations Table - 1

Key findings

  • Compared to the period 1970-1999, in 2000-2009:
      • Annual pasture production was down by 31% requiring a 77% reduction in stocking rate. Profitability was down by 83% as a result.
  • Looking forward to 2030, compared to the base period 1970 – 1999, the 4 different climate scenarios showed:
      • Stocking rates will be lower (-22% on average) to maintain a sustainable pasture base
      • Two of the four models predict a far less profitable business (operating at a loss) unless producers make adaptations, while one other model shows a significant increase in profit
      • On average, profitability is down by 89% but care needs to be taken in interpreting this result because of the huge variability (a range of +106% to -288%) across the models
      • The large impact is similar to the Narrandera site which is near-by.

The impact of adaptations

The following table shows the impact of various adaptations on the profitability of a prime lamb enterprise at Lockhart

Lockhart Sheep Prime Lamb Impacts Adaptations Table - 2

  • Having 20% of the pasture area as lucerne increases overall profit (by approximately four fold) when the four GCMS are averaged.  It also appears to be beneficial across the four GCM’s modelled. 
  • The optimal lambing date across all GCM’s is June/July, generally one month later that the annual system.
  • 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.
  • Further modelling is also required to assess the impacts of the different GCM’s on the profitabilty of different sheep enterprises.