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Improved empirical models of cattle growth, reproduction and mortality from native pastures in northern Australia

Project start date: 15 June 2010
Project end date: 16 April 2012
Publication date: 01 July 2013
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle
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Simulation models of native pastures in northern Australia have seen wide and increasing use for environmental and ecological reviews (including climate impacts) and the evaluation of grazing management options. Current models of cattle performance (including liveweight gain) are based mainly on research conducted some 20 years ago. This project reviewed these models, and collated a range of existing and new data sets, to estimate improved predictions for rates of growth, reproduction and mortality. The performance of existing and adapted models across a wide range of locations was evaluated, with somewhat mixed results. When applied to different pasture communities and land types, the models generally need to be re-parameterised. It is recommended that these investigations continue, so that the available models can be used with good confidence across the rangelands of northern Australia.

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Project manager: Mick Quirk
Primary researcher: Department of Employment and Econimic development & I