The Dexcel Whole Farm Model (WFM) is being developed to simulate dairy systems based on the interaction of system components. The WFM was fitted against observed data from the Resource Efficient Dairying (RED) trial, Scott Farm, Hamilton (Treatment A, 2002/2003 season) and used to explore the effects of different stocking rates on measures of system efficiency, i.e. feed utilisation (FU) and feed conversion efficiency (FCE). At the same stocking rate as RED treatment A (3 cows/ha), and with the observed ‘bestpractice’ management principles in place, the WFM predicted a FU 7% higher compared with the observed (73% vs 66%). Increasing stocking rate in the WFM resulted in an increase in FU, but the predicted FCE did not decrease as was expected. The model showed the importance of adhering to proven management principles to reduce feed wastage and thereby improve system efficiencies. Key words: stocking rate; simulation modelling; pasture utilisation; dairy farm.

RN, Jensen, PC Beukes, DA Clark, and KA MacDonald

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 65, Christchurch, 203-208, 2005
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