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NB2 Herd Pillar

The Herd pillar within NB2 focuses on herd production, based on feedbase production in a sustainable framework, hence the sister pillars.

What is production? In any production business, whether it be a grain farm, a tractor factory, a bolt factory, or a chocolate business, there is a product sold in units related to value. For beef businesses, the product is live weight.

In northern cattle systems production is typically only equal to the actual live weight sold at any point in time. This means Northern producers have an opportunity to improve on the value of the animals sold by better understanding their annual production values and making decisions based on performance.

Annual live weight production of an animal = live weight change of the animal + the weight of a calf it weans. This equation also applies to steers and young females; they don’t wean calves, but they do gain live weight.

Annual live weight production of a herd = live weight change of the herd over a year + live weight sold - live weight purchased.

The amount of live weight produced is governed by the quality, quantity and management of the herd and the feedbase.

Production efficiency = live weight produced divided by the amount of feed eaten. Feed intake is higher in heavier animals, when feed quality is better and, strangely enough, whether they have feed available.  If the paddocks are flogged, the system is inefficient.


Almost all businesses globally know exactly how much product they produce and sell, its value and the cost of production; they also know the environmental and animal welfare impacts. This is the basis of monitoring success and improving.

These values are fairly easy to generate for a beef business. Do you know the values for your business?  Do you know how your management influences each of these business elements? Do you make business decisions with reference to these values?

NB2 is a pathway to help producers achieve this and reap the rewards being taken by leading businesses that already know their business parameters and use them to guide decisions.