Rebuilding beef

What the numbers are telling us

Tablelands Telegraph – June 2021

Brett Littler, Senior Land Services Officer – Livestock

Last month we held a Rebuilding Beef field day at Lyndhurst where several topics were covered. A key speaker was John Frances from Agrista who delivered a presentation on “What are the numbers are telling us”.

For a long time, John has been practicing benchmark agricultural operations and evaluating their performance. Since the drought has broken in some areas, he has been looking at several scenarios and evaluating to determine the best options for beef producers to return to full production.

The key messages of his presentation were:

  • Profits are 90% higher than two years ago but only at optimum stocking rates
  • Find efficiency gains to maintain profitability where land values have jumped
  • Pregnancy tested in calf (PTIC) females are still generating some value
  • Conduct pasture audit to know capacity

So, what does this mean practically?

We know there are a large proportion of operations/properties still well below their optimum stocking rate’ and some people are staying out of the market because of the price to ‘get back in’ is just too high. Breeding back up to optimal stocking rates will take several years and the bigger the level of destocking, the longer it will take.

Look for efficiency gains to me means, we should be looking at maximising what we have and getting it to perform better or improve livestock performance. Look outside the norm. Think about crossbreeding (10% free kick at weaning, not to mention the other possible gains) or, other options like tactical supplementation to improve weight gain throughout the year. Another option is HGP’s, this could give you 10-15% extra weight gain (check your market here) if you have quality feed for the stock.

There are some options out there to trade. Yes, PTIC females are still showing some value, but there are other options out there too. You may have to change your thinking and look at different categories. Also look at the market and determine where and how you sell your animals. I am currently growing out some of my weaners to bigger and heaver weights to take to a pasture market. Is this an option for you?

Finally have a look at your pasture and “conduct a pasture audit”. If your pastures have really coped it hard time over the drought, do they need some TLC? or do they need a redo? This will affect any livestock performance and all the above as you may have a new ‘optimum stocking rate”.

A copy of John’s presentation can be found here.

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