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Productivity and profitability of forage options for beef production in the subtropics of northern Australia

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Bowen, M. K., Chudleigh, F., Buck, S. R. and Hopkins, K. (2018) Productivity and profitability of forage options for beef production in the subtropics of northern Australia. Animal Production Science, 58 (2). pp. 332-342.


Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN16180

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/an/AN16180


This study measured forage biomass production, diet quality, cattle liveweight gain, and economic performance of six forage types at 21 sites across 12 commercial beef cattle properties in the Fitzroy River catchment of Queensland during 2011–2014 (28 annual datasets in total). The forages were annual forage crops (oats (Avena sativa), sorghum (Sorghum spp.) and lablab (Lablab purpureus)), sown perennial legume-grass pastures (leucaena-grass (Leucaena leucocephala spp. glabrata + perennial, tropical grass (C4) species) and butterfly peagrass
(Clitoria ternatea + perennial, C4, grass species)), and perennial, C4, grass pastures. The sown forages resulted in 1.2–2.6 times the annual cattle liveweight gain per ha than perennial grass pastures. Annual cattle liveweight gain per ha, forage establishment and management costs, and cattle price margin (sale price less purchase price, $/kg liveweight) all influenced gross margin, however, none was an overriding factor. The average gross margins ($/ha. annum) calculated using contractor rates, ranked from highest to lowest, were: leucaena-grass pastures, 181; butterfly pea-grass pastures, 140; oats, 102; perennial grass, 96; sorghum, 24; and lablab, 18. It was concluded that the tendency towards greater average gross margins for perennial legume-grass pastures than for annual forage crops or perennial grass pastures was the result of the combined effects of lower average forage costs and high cattle productivity.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Additional Information:Reproduced with permission from © CSIRO Publishing. Access to published version is available via Publisher’s website.
Keywords:dryland cropping, tropical forages, tropical pastures.
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Methods and systems of culture. Cropping systems
Plant culture > Field crops > Forage crops. Feed crops
Animal culture > Cattle
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Live Archive:24 Nov 2016 00:23
Last Modified:21 Dec 2021 02:28

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