The purpose of this study was to investigate the viability of a number of
bull beef production systems integrated with sheep, within summer dry and
summer wet Wairarapa ·hill country environments.
This was achieved by construction of a spreadsheet feed budget simulation
model, based on representative wairarapa pasture growth and animal
production data. The model balanced feed requirements over fortnightly
periods, with unconsumed feed transferred between periods subject to
allowances for senescence and decay. Gross margin analysis was used to
investigate the financial profitability of the systems examined, including the
base sheep policies used.
A survey of commercial sheep/bull beef hill country farmers within the
Wairarapa was carried out to verify the assumptions made in model
construction and to identify practical problems/opportunities. Several off-
farm factors were then considered (eg supply of bulls, availability of killing
capacity, United States beef market) in terms of their on-farm impact and
the outlook for bull beef, over the next 2-3 years. Following analysis of the
survey and off-farm data, several farmers were re-visited individually, and
then a follow-up group meeting was held, to discuss the results of the model
and survey analysis.
The study showed that there are a number of bull beef systems which are
viable and profitable on Wairarapa hill country, and that the number of bulls
farmed on hill country is likely to increase in the future. while some
farmers were achieving levels of production indicated feasible by the model,
many were producing below these levels. There is therefore considerable
opportunity to increase meat production and profitability on these farms.
There is also considerable opportunity, in terms of the supply of bulls, for
the bull beef industry to expand within New Zealand, although there are
some market uncertainties which could hinder this.
The overall conclusion from this study is that the production of bull beef
offers considerable scope to increase the profitability of North Island hill
country farming, and that this industry will continue to expand.