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The effect of earlier mating and improving fertility on greenhouse gas emissions intensity of beef production in northern Australian herds

Cullen, B. R. and Eckard, R. J. and Timms, M. and Phelps, D. G. (2016) The effect of earlier mating and improving fertility on greenhouse gas emissions intensity of beef production in northern Australian herds. The Rangeland Journal, 38 (3). pp. 283-290.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RJ15063

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/RJ15063

Abstract

Approximately 5% of Australian national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are derived from the northern beef industry. Improving the reproductive performance of cows has been identified as a key target for increasing profitability, and this higher efficiency is also likely to reduce the GHG emissions intensity of beef production. The effects of strategies to increase the fertility of breeding herds and earlier joining of heifers as yearlings were studied on two properties at Longreach and Boulia in western Queensland. The beef production, GHG emissions, emissions intensity and profitability were investigated and compared with typical management in the two regions. Overall weaning rates achieved on the two properties were 79% and 74% compared with typical herd weaning rates of 58% in both regions. Herds with high reproductive performance had GHG emissions intensities (t CO2-e t–1 liveweight sold) 28% and 22% lower than the typical herds at Longreach and Boulia, with most of the benefit from higher weaning rates. Farm gross margin analysis showed that it was more profitable, by $62 000 at Longreach and $38 000 at Boulia, to utilise higher reproductive performance to increase the amount of liveweight sold with the same number of adult equivalents compared with reducing the number of adult equivalents to maintain the same level of liveweight sold and claiming a carbon credit for lower farm emissions. These gains achieved at two case study properties which had different rainfall, country types, and property sizes suggest similar improvements can be made on-farm across the Mitchell Grass Downs bioregion of northern Australia.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Keywords:carbon farming, grazing systems, rangelands, tropical pastures.
Subjects:Animal culture > Other special topics
Animal culture > Cattle
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Animal culture > Cattle > Meat production
Deposited On:22 Jul 2016 04:30
Last Modified:22 Jul 2016 04:30

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