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The challenge

Enhanced decision-making

Destocking is a strategy producers use to effectively manage herd numbers during dry years when there is less feed available.

Livestock ranking and destocking strategies could be significantly enhanced through development of new decision-making systems and tools.

New decision-making tools for livestock producers. ©

Our response

Developing ranking strategies and tools

We are working with the University of New England (UNE), CQUniversity and industry with funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund on evaluating different de-stocking strategies.

To effectively rank livestock and inform de-stocking decision-making, producers must consider a range of factors, including the age and health of their animals, and their breeding potential. Other factors include long-term profitability and environmental impacts.  

We are using bioeconomic simulation modelling to develop and evaluate different livestock ranking strategies. This will enable farmers to make more informed destocking decisions and help ensure the profitability and environmental sustainability of their farming enterprise.

Progress: comparing different strategies

In 2023, we developed and expanded modelling tools that test selected scenarios to compare the consequences of de-stocking decisions on the longer term prospects of the farming enterprise. 

We are investigating the effects of de-stocking events on herd characteristics, and query how changes to herd characteristics affect a farm system in variable climates. First results of this work highlighted that the long-term consequences of de-stocking decisions have the greatest impact in poorer seasonal conditions. 

Further analysis will explore the advantages and disadvantages of different de-stocking strategies in variable climates.

The results

Increasing drought resilience

This work aims to develop innovative relevant livestock ranking strategies that secure farm businesses into, during and out of drought, and improve natural capital in agricultural landscapes

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