A case farm study of a once-bred heifer system on hill country using a spreadsheet simulation model was undertaken. Results of the feed budge and financial data of the once-bred system were compared with bull beef, 18 month heifer finishing and traditional breeding cow policies. The once-bred heifer system generated a gross margin of $48.26/s.u. compared with $42.50/s.u. for a traditional breeding cow breeding system, $31.70/s.u. for the 20 month heifer finishing and $52.80/s.u. for a bull beef system. The once-bred heifer system produced 314 kg carcass/ha, the breeding system cow 197 kg carcass/ha, the 20 month heifer system 354 kg carcass/ha and the bull beef system 433 kg carcass/ha. The major factor affecting the profitability of the once- bred heifer system was schedule price. The best match of animal requirements and pasture growth for the once-bred heifer system was shown to occur for an October calving. This study suggests that sheep and beef farmers with traditional beef cattle policies could increase productivity by adopting a once-bred heifer beef production system.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 51, , 339-346, 1991
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