The impacts of change in forage quality and seasonality on sheep farm profitability


  • R.W. Webby
  • G.W. Sheath



benefits of altering the quality and seasonality of pasture supply in sheep farming enterprises. Three representative regions in New Zealand were studied; winter-cold and summer-wet (e.g., Southland, Otago and Central North Island); winter-cold, summer-dry (e.g., South Island East Coast); and winter-warm, summer-dry (e.g., North Island East Coast). Two different lamb-finishing enterprises were also analysed within each region; a conventional system where the lamb supply pattern was aligned with feed availability, and a supply contract system where more lambs were supplied for processing outside the normal season. Improving the seasonality of feed supply increased gross margins by $26 to $126 per hectare depending on the region. The greatest gains from improved seasonality occurred in the winter-cold scenarios. Improving forage quality had a more positive impact than improved seasonality changes with gross margins increasing by $53 to $148 per hectare depending on region. Overall the impact of the forage supply and forage quality changes was similar for the two lamb-finishing systems. Keywords: lamb-finishing, pasture production, pasture quality, systems analysis







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