A simple dryland beef production system
At Lincoln University, a small (3.7 ha) beef unit operates annually with the objective of closely fitting seasonal pasture growth rate to cattle feed demand on Canterbury dryland pasture with no requirement for making or feeding conserved feed. Inputs to this dryland pasture beef production system are kept low. Cattle are not purchased in autumn until the results of a feed budget show that pasture mass plus expected winter pasture growth will meet target animal winter intake. In some years not all cattle are bought at the same time, but the unit is fully stocked (around 6 cattle/ha) by the end of July. Cattle are sold for slaughter progressively from December through February as pasture production ceases to meet animal demands. Grazing methods typically vary from autumn-winter rotations of up to 100 days with weekly block grazing, to 6-paddock rotations of 28-34 days in spring and 2-paddock, 30-day spelling intervals later in the grazing season. The unit consistently produces each year a carcass weight gain of 500 kg/ha with gross margins of around $400-600/ha representing a utilisation of 100 GJ ME/ha. This performance is consistent with that of other intensive beef production systems.... [Show full abstract]
TypeConference Contribution - Published (Conference Paper)
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