Yass – 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 (selling progeny at 15 months) at Yass are shown below:
- Compared to the period 1970-1999, in 2000-2009:
- While annual pasture production was down by 13%, stocking rate only had to be reduced by 2%
- Profitability however was down by 40%
- 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 34%), even for the model which had higher annual pasture production.
- The reduced stocking rates lowered profits by 61 % on average, with a range of 11 % to 128%.
- The impacts on production and profitability were are greater in 2030 compared to the dry 2000-2009 period
The impact of adaptations
Only a couple of adaptations were modelled at this site for beef cattle. For more information see adaptations at Goulburn which are very similar to Yass
- There is a strong need to continue the genetic improvement in this enterprise. This improvement needs to improve turnoff weight without increasing the size of the mature cows. A crossbreeding enterprise has merit. This has been the basis of the lamb industry for many years but the uptake in beef has been minor, but the future pressure on pasture production could see this change.
- As for the sheep enterprise, a native perennial grass which has the potential to be green all year round provides a strong buffer to the changes in the temperature and rainfall. While the decline in annual pasture production is similar for both pasture types, the pasture with the native is able to maintain ground cover at a higher DSE so help maintaining profits.