An economic analysis of resting versus nonresting perennial pastures during the critical acclimation period
Fryza, S., Carlberg, J.G., Khakbazan, M., Robins, C.D., Block, H.C., Scott, S.L., Huang, J., Durunna, O.N. (2016). An economic analysis of resting versus nonresting perennial pastures during the critical acclimation period. Canadian Journal of Animal Science, [online] 96(3), 364-375. http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjas-2015-0118
Plain language summary
Economic comparisons are needed to make good pasture management choices. This study looked at the economics of grazing grass pastures with, or without, alfalfa in combination with, or without, grazing during the pre-frost period. Cattle not grazing pasture grazed barley or oat swaths. Not applying fertilizer because alfalfa was in the pasture lowered cost. Having larger calves for sale by continuing pasture grazing during the pre-frost period increased income. Benefit of alfalfa was limited by low levels of alfalfa. Continued grazing of grass pastures with alfalfa gave the best income for the lowest risk.
Economic evaluations were carried out on stochastically simulated production systems using data from a grazing systems’ trial, which evaluated the impact of resting (i.e., grazing cessation) alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) - bromegrass (Bromus riparius Rehm. ‘Fleet’) and grass-only (G) pastures during the critical prefrost period on beef cattle (Bos taurus) productivity. Grazing systems were compared on the basis of calculated net present value of returns analysis. Lower production costs through reduced fertilization requirements resulted in alfalfa-grass (AG) preference over G pastures, while returns from increased calf sale weights resulted in nonrested systems being preferred over rested systems. However, low presence of alfalfa in the AG pastures likely limited the potential for resting pastures to improve production through increased alfalfa persistence. This evaluation found nonrested grazing of AG pastures to be preferred over other treatments on the basis of increased returns and reduced risk.