Picking the right beef enterprise
The NSW Agriculture booklet Producing beef for modern markets and The Beef business series emphasise that the right enterprise for you is not just the most profitable one today. It needs to balance these important points:
- current gross margin per hectare or per head;
- likely stability of the markets;
- susceptibility to changes in particular markets;
- general industry stability.
- the capacity of your property to meet the stock performance needed;
- your management and marketing skills;
- how you cope with seasonal variation;
- the long-term sustainability of the enterprise.
What enterprises are possible?
Your property’s level of nutrition determines what enterprises you can run, and how fast cattle grow. This idea of level of nutrition indicates how well cattle do on your property, and is the result of many environmental factors, including:
- soil type and natural fertility;
- length of growing season;
- rainfall pattern and variability;
- pasture type;
- fertiliser history;
- heat and cold stress.
High-nutrition areas can be used for any beef enterprise but low-nutrition country is only suited to breeding weaners. The booklets referred to above also discusses the pros and cons and market options for the major enterprise types, namely weaner production, feeder steer production, vealer production, yearling production, breeding older steers and growing out or fattening cattle. Attributes of British, European and Tropical breeds of cattle are also discussed.