Making More from Sheep Australian Wool Innovation Limited Meat & Livestock Australia
MODULE 12: Efficient Pastoral Production
What does this module do for you?

Efficient Pastoral Production is designed to help pastoral sheep producers increase the productivity and profitability of their enterprise, as well as contribute to the personal satisfaction of operating a successful pastoral business.

This pastoral-specific module has been developed within the context of Australia’s pastoral zones, taking into consideration issues and management perspectives pertinent to these areas.

Through this module, pastoral sheep producers can expect to find information on:

  • The key issues that impact on pastoral sheep business profitability, natural resources and controlling risk
  • Key decisions, important procedures and critical actions that could be implemented to achieve a more profitable and sustainable sheep and wool enterprise in the Australian pastoral zone.
  • Job satisfaction – through clear progress towards your goals and objectives, and confidence in your ability to adjust to new challenges.
  • Avoids losses from the real risks to your business – adverse circumstances cannot be avoided but, if you are prepared, they can be managed to minimise their impact.
  • Avoids lost opportunities as a result of perceived risks – aversion to risk, or overestimation of individual risks, can lead to inertia, which, in turn, leads to missed opportunities.

This material will help you to:

  • Increase your capacity to improve your business and achieve your personal and business goals
  • Challenge yourself to achieve targets that you set for yourself
  • Invest time in exploring innovation that you could apply to your business and property
  • Identify the need to invest in yourself – you are a key to the success of your business, and recognising that you need to be exploring ‘better’ or ‘easier’ or more efficient ways to do things will help you realise the success you strive for.

Efficient Pastoral Production

This module contains seven procedures. Each procedure contains critical ‘must do’ activities, tools to assist you in managing the issues identified in the module, and signposts which direct you to further information and assistance on the particular topic.

The seven procedures in this module are:

  • Know your property
  • Establish a vision and plan for success
  • Efficient pastoral production
  • Determine a grazing management approach
  • Match grazing pressure to feed supply
  • Manage feral animals
  • Obtain best production from rainfall received.

How was the module developed?

This manual, jointly developed by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), brings together all the relevant information for running successful wool and sheepmeat enterprises in the pastoral areas of Australia.

The material was devised by a team of technical experts and sheep producers regarded as industry leaders. The team identified the critical procedures for each component of a sheep business and the tools needed to make a start on changing enterprise practices.

The manual was road tested by sheep producers from all pastoral areas of Australia, as well as public and private service providers who operate businesses in the pastoral areas of Australia.

Importantly, due to the vast nature of the pastoral zone, not all information signposted may be entirely pertinent to all pastoral areas in Australia.

The pastoral zone

The pastoral area extends across low rainfall areas, including semi-arid, and arid, and also some seasonally high rainfall zones. The pastoral zone is generally defined as an area in which native pastures and shrubs are grazed by introduced domestic herbivores (sheep, cattle, goats), feral herbivores (goats, donkeys, horses, camels, rabbits) and large native herbivores (kangaroos).

As is the case for all agricultural enterprises, pastoral grazing enterprises have a range of management requirements. With the ultimate aim of maintaining a productive and financially viable grazing enterprise, a successful pastoral grazing manager must achieve a balance between a number of different elements:

  • Maintaining productive pastures
  • Matching grazing pressure to the available feed
  • Maintaining biodiversity
  • Managing weeds and pest animals
  • Balancing livestock needs with available feed
  • Managing and maintaining fences, water and other property infrastructure
  • Monitoring the business and production system
  • Managing seasonal variability
  • Meeting administrative and legislative requirements
  • Planning and undertaking development on the property.

These tasks are made more challenging due to the large land areas managed and the distances that need to be covered to undertake an effective management program.

Module 12 Contents
12.1 Know your property View Procedure
12.2 Establish a vision View Procedure
12.3 Efficient pastoral production View Procedure
12.4 Determine a grazing management approach View Procedure
12.5 Match grazing pressure to feed supply View Procedure
12.6 Manage pest animal species View Procedure
12.7 Obtain best production from rainfall received View Procedure
12.1 Prepare a property inventory
View Tool
12.2 Prepare a property plan View Tool
12.3 Conduct a water audit for your property View Tool
12.4 Develop a vision statement View Tool
12.5 Management calendar View Tool
12.6 Make an action plan for efficiency and innovation in your operation View Tool
12.7 Define your grazing management goals View Tool
12.8 Grazing management practices View Tool
12.9 Condition scoring of sheep View Tool
12.10 Estimate Food on Offer (FOO) View Tool
12.11 Taking quadrat or plant cuts View Tool
12.12 Photo standards View Tool
12.13 Establishing and monitoring trigger points View Tool
12.14 Calculate DSE’s for your property View Tool
12.15 Assessing total grazing pressure View Tool
12.16 Controlling foxes View Tool
12.17 Controlling wild dogs View Tool
12.18 Controlling feral pigs View Tool
12.19 Grazing Land Management Program gateways View Tool
12.20 Recognise and minimise decline in landscape function View Tool
12.21 Invasive native scrub control – establish a plan of management View Tool