Beef cattle slaughter in New Zealand continues to be strongly seasonal, despite various initiatives by meat processing companies to alter the pattern of supply of cattle for slaughter. The farmer`s perspective of out-of-season (OOS) production systems (August -October supply) and the biological and financial feasibility of these was investigated through a participatory approach to farm system modelling. Three case farms were modelled using STOCKPOL and alternative cattle policies that provided a greater proportion of cattle for slaughter in OOS and shoulder (November - December and June - July) months were investigated with the farmers. Even with premiums 20% above schedule, farmers were unwillings to change policies to OOS. They were concerned about increased business risk, poorer feed quality, increased pasture pugging, greater workload over the busy lambing/calving period, poorer overall suitability to the property and conflict with personal preference. They were more receptive to policies that would increase shoulder production and this factor combined with off-farm improvements in technology for delivering fresh products to overseas destinations may be sufficient to gain new or greater access to high value markets.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 58, , 231-235, 1998
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