Impact of deferred grazing on profitability of a hill country farm in north-western Waikato


  • Katherine Tozer AgResearch
  • Steve Howarth AgFirst
  • Jon Sherlock Otorohaea LTD
  • Ian Tarbotton Ballance¬†Agri-Nutrients



FARMAX, gross margin, pasture fallow, pasture management


Deferred grazing is a common management practice in which pastures are rested from grazing between mid-spring and the end of summer/early autumn. It has been used to rejuvenate pastures and better manage the spring pasture surplus although its impact on farm profitability is unknown. FARMAX was used to explore the impact of deferred grazing on profitability on a north-western Waikato beef and sheep hill country farm based on experimental data and likely management responses. The Base Scenario modelled farm profitability assuming spring surplus in a typical year. When 15% of the farm was deferred and it was assumed that the increased grazing pressure on the rest of the farm led to greater control of the spring feed surplus and improved pasture quality, there was an increase in ewe performance and the number lambs sold at target weight. Per head and total farm gross margins increased by 8%. Results demonstrate how the use of deferred grazing as a pasture management tool to increase resilience can also enhance livestock performance and profitability at the whole-farm level.






Resilient Pastures Symposium 2021