Using producers’ own production and financial data from the Moss Vale region, modelling was initially undertaken to assess pasture and livestock production, and enterprise profitability for two prior periods (1970-1999 and 2000-2009) to ensure the models were performing correctly. Modelling was then performed looking ahead to 2030, using 4 different climate scenarios. A self-replacing beef cattle herd for vealer production enterprise was examined
The enterprise modelled was based on a cocksfoot, ryegrass and white clover pasture with optimal fertility
Weather predictions & pasture production
Projected weather for the four 2030 scenarios and the impact on pasture production are shown below
- Compared to 1970-1999, over the period 2000-2009 rainfall was xxx% lower, average maximum temperature was xxx% % higher and pasture production xxx% % lower
- For 2030:
- The temperature increases are consistent across the four scenarios but the rainfall forecast is variable from a 2% to a 20% decrease (average 9% decrease).
- The combination of less rainfall, but higher temperatures and higher CO2 leads, on average, to an average 2% increase in pasture production, with 3 of the 4 scenarios showing an increase
- The projected impact from the 4 Global Circulation Models on the Moss Vale region has not had as profound an impact as compared to other regions (Goulburn and Braidwood) studied – due to the frequency and timing of rainfall, soil fertility, the temperate pasture base and higher winter temperatures.
- The average results are hugely impacted by one scenario which predicts significantly lower rainfall and pasture production while the other 3 show increases
- This places it in good stead to withstand impacts of climate change or even take advantages of the situation as compared to many other areas of NSW.
Livestock & Financial Impacts, and Adaptations
Using the modelled pasture production figures, the impacts on livestock production and farm profitability were then calculated. Such impacts were initially based on a “business as usual” case i.e. no adaptations (changes to farm management practices) were made.
Then, by discussing these predicted results with farmers, a series of possible adaptations were agreed to and modeled. These adaptations were assessed for their ability (either individually or in combination) to help reduce the impact of climate change on livestock production and farm profitability.
To see the ‘business as usual’ impacts, and then what adaptations were proposed by producers and modeled, for a beef enterprises at Moss Vale, please click on: