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Meat and Wool Production Calculator gets Farmers Thinking

12 December 2014

NEW ZEALAND - A new online tool to encourage sheep farmers to think about production in a different way has been launched by Beef and Lamb New Zealand.

"The meat and wool production calculator begins the process of getting farmers to think about the real production volumes coming off their farms," says B+LNZ chief economist, Andrew Burtt (pictured).

There are several reasons for this, he added:

  • Our products are priced on a per kilogram basis, but we tend to think of our production in terms of head. By aligning our production values with our pricing values, we can think more directly about the impact on gross farm revenue.

  • Sheep and beef farmers often trade livestock. This means that the volume we sell may be substantially greater than the volume we produce. If we purchase a mob of 1,000 lambs and finish them, our production is the aggregate weight gain across the mob rather than the total weight of lambs we eventually sell. In other words, we need to account for the weight of lambs brought in to our farming system.

  • Sheep and beef farmers are increasingly grazing animals for other farmers. Therefore, we don't get a direct measure of production in our sales figures, but we should count the weight gain of those grazing animals.

The meat and wool production calculator is in its first phase of development.

"We've tried to keep it simple enough to use quickly, but flexible enough to allow for more detailed information that you have about your farm," Mr Burtt said.

He encouraged farmers to try the tool and provide feedback to inform phase two.

"In future, we expect to add another tool to our website that will let you benchmark your farm's production against the range of sheep and beef production values in the industry (similar to the existing lambing percentage calculator). Look out for that in the New Year."

Beef + Lamb New Zealand's interactive tools have been developed to help lift the performance and profitability of New Zealand sheep and beef farmers.

All interactive tools including the new meat and wool production calculator can be accessed via the B+LNZ website: beeflambnz.com/interactive-tools

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