Using producers’ own production and financial data from the Millicent region, modelling was initially undertaken to assess pasture and livestock production, and enterprise profitability for two prior periods (1970-1999 and 2000-2008) to ensure the models were performing correctly. Modelling was then performed looking ahead to 2030, using 4 different climate scenarios.
The main enterprise examined was
- British x Friesian Cow Self Replacing Herd. Soil type: Sandy loam on clay loam. Pasture: Sub clover and Phalaris
A comparison was also made of a Hereford, self-replacing herd with an Angus steer trading enterprise.
Weather predictions & pasture production
Projected weather for the four 2030 scenarios and the impact on pasture production are shown below
Please note that average temperature at this location is average maximum temperature
- Compared to 1970-1999, over the period 2000-2009 rainfall was 2% lower, average maximum temperature showed no change and pasture production was only 1% lower
- For 2030:
- The temperature increases are consistent (+5%) but the rainfall forecast is slightly more variable ranging from a -4% to – 17%, and averaging a 10% reduction.
- On average, there is a 1% increase in annual pasture production
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 modelled. 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 modelled for the cattle enterprise at Millicent, please click on: