Modelling the risk of different joining times and lamb sale policies

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Month of joining and lamb sale strategy influence both the quantity and so value of lamb produced, and the feed required, so are important management decisions contributing to the profitability of sheep systems. Simulation modelling was used to evaluate the impact on gross margins of three lamb sale strategies for different months of joining and varying stocking rates. A flock of purchased Merino ewes producing crossbred lambs in southern Australia was modelled between 1971 and 2011. April joining produced higher gross margins than November or January only if the number of ewes per hectare was increased to potential carrying capacity. At the optimum stocking rate for each month of joining, three sale policies - a flexible lamb sale policy (where lambs were sold depending on seasonal conditions); selling lambs in December; or selling at 45-kg liveweight, all produced a similar mean gross margin, but the feed resources required were least using the flexible strategy (April-joined mean 195 ± 253 s.d. kg/ha for flexible compared with 219 ± 270 kg/ha if selling December or 1085 ± 459 kg/ha if sold at 45 kg). Mean gross margin differed between sale strategies by up to AU $66/ha if the optimal stocking rate was not used. These results suggest that the most advantageous lamb sale strategy will vary with both month of joining and stocking rate used, and should be considered when optimising sheep management systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1694-1698
Number of pages5
JournalAnimal Production Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


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