Recovering from Drought – Flock Structure

Type: PDF
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

Recovering from drought takes a great deal of planning and strategy -  do you sell stock to keep the cash flow as healthy as possible, or retain them to increase numbers? Or is there a middle ground?  There answer is different for everyone

 

The most profitable flocks tend to be self replacing, running 20-50 per cent wethers.  There is a short-term opportunity to capitalize on high re-stocker prices following the drought by increasing the proportion of ewes in your flock, although this is associated with additional management requirements.

Returning a flock to pre-drought levels of productivity and profitability as quickly as possible is the key to recovering from drought. Often this requires compromises.

The main one is the trade-off between selling stock to keep the cash flow as healthy as possible, versus retaining stock to increase numbers.

  • a ewe-dominant flock provides substantial advantages because of its reproductive potential but requires additional management, both for the lambing ewe and the weaner
  • in comparison, the wether is easy to run but only contributes a fleece at the end of the year

The aim of this report is to look at the effect of a range of strategies on flock profitability. It looks at the returning a flock to pre-drought levels of productivity and profitability as quickly as possible is the key to recovering from drought.

The key sections are:

  1. livestock capital
  2. profitability
  3. a case study – flock structure

One of the keys to long-term prosperity in agriculture, is to avoid taking so long to recover from the drought that you lose substantial profits each year when subsequent seasons are average or better.

There is a sensible middle ground that provides for recovery in the medium-term but does not put the business at risk in the short-term.

In conclusion, the guide states that the key would be planning and managing to avoid the likely problems and adjusting management practices when and if required.

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