The traditional lamb production system in New Zealand is driven largely by the seasonal pattern of pasture growth and ewes lambing once a year. An alternative is the implementation of year-round lamb production systems such as the STAR system, where ewes lamb five times over a three-year period, thus providing a continuous supply of lambs. A modelling exercise was undertaken to assess the economic viability of the STAR system. The model simulates pasture growth and flock energy requirement on a daily basis over a three year period for both the traditional system and the STAR system and calculates gross margins. The model was run for a 100ha block using average Manawatu pasture growth rates. The two systems were set to consume 11000 kg DM/ha of pasture per year. The model indicates that, at the same lambing percentage (160%) the STAR system earned an extra 26% of income compared with the traditional system. Even at a lower lambing percentage (148 versus 160) the system can match a seasonal lamb production system. With a 10 % premium for out of season lambs the STAR system generates an extra 56% in profit.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 64, Hamilton, 179-182, 2004
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