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Scaling results up from a plot and paddock scale to a property

  • Year: 2013
  • Author: Scanlan, J. C. and MacLeod, N. D. and O'Reagain, P. J.
  • Journal Name: The Rangeland Journal
  • Journal Number: Vol.35
  • Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
  • Country: Australia

Grazing experiments are usually used to quantify and demonstrate the biophysical impact of grazing strategies, with the Wambiana grazing experiment being one of the longest running such experiments in northern Australia. Previous economic analyses of this experiment suggest that there is a major advantage in stocking at a fixed, moderate stocking rate or in using decision rules allowing flexible stocking to match available feed supply. The present study developed and applied a modelling procedure to use data collected at the small plot, land type and paddock scales at the experimental site to simulate the property-level implications of a range of stocking rates for a breeding-finishing cattle enterprise. The greatest economic performance was achieved at a moderate stocking rate of 10.5 adult equivalents 100 ha(-1). For the same stocking rate over time, the fixed stocking strategy gave a greater economic performance than strategies that involved moderate changes to stocking rates each year in response to feed supply. Model outcomes were consistent with previous economic analyses using experimental data. Further modelling of the experimental data is warranted and similar analyses could be applied to other major grazing experiments to allow the scaling of results to greater scales.

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