Limitations to pasture and sheep enterprises and options for improvement in the Victorian Mallee

SM Robertson, RK Wimalasuriya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

A survey of 29 sheep producers was conducted to benchmark current sheep production practices and producer attitudes to sheep and pasture management in the Victorian Mallee. This report describes the farming systems, defines current sheep management practices and identifies management issues that are limiting production. It also highlights limitations to adoption, suggests potential adoption rates of specific practices by producers, and estimates increases in productivity achievable. Sheep producers could achieve small gains in farm productivity (an estimated average 0.3% annually) by adopting sheep management practices including using superior genetics, reducing ram numbers and supplementary feeding. Possible reasons why recommended practices have not been adopted are discussed. The difficulty of integrating sheep into current short cropping systems was considered to be a key limitation to the adoption of management that could substantially increase productivity, such as higher stocking rates and winter/spring lambing. Important benefits to both productivity and environmental sustainability may be achieved through the replacement of fallowed land with improved pastures. However, a lack of data on the feed base and sheep production in relation to a changing feed base made it impossible to estimate the size of these benefits. It was concluded that further research is needed to collect data and benchmark pasture and livestock enterprises to allow quantification of the potential impact on farm profit of changes to pasture and sheep management in this region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-849
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal Production Science
Volume44
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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