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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Whole Farm Analysis of Forage Budgeting on Pasture

Authors
item Sanderson, Matt
item Rotz, Clarence
item Rayburn, E - WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY
item Fultz, S - MARYLAND COOP. EXT.
item Vough, L - UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND

Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Council Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 31, 2000
Publication Date: July 16, 2000
Citation: Sanderson, M.A., Rotz, C.A., Rayburn, E.B., Fultz, S.F., Vough, L.R. Whole farm analysis of forage budgeting on pasture. American Forage And Grassland Council Proceedings. 2000. v. 9. p. 105-109.

Interpretive Summary: Accurately measuring pasture yield is essential in budgeting forage in grazing systems. Producers often do not take the time to accurately measure pasture yields because they are not convinced that it pays. We used the computer model DAFOSYM to simulate the economic effects of inaccuracies in estimating forage production on pasture. Our results indicate that inaccurate estimates of forage production in pastures can cost producers up to $80 per acre of pasture per year, depending on the type of grazing system used and the level of inaccuracy. Thus, the use of an accurate method of measuring forage, and regular monitoring of pastures can save graziers money.

Technical Abstract: The computer model DAFOSYM was used to simulate the economic effects of inaccuracies in estimating forage production on pasture. A representative grazing dairy farm was developed and the costs and returns from "optimum" management were calculated. Different scenarios were then simulated including underestimating or overestimating forage yield on pastures by 10 or 20%, underestimating yield by 10% in spring, and overestimating by 10% in summer, and vice versa. All of the scenarios simulated resulted in lower returns compared to the optimum farm. Differences in net return compared to the optimum farm ranged from -$3 to -$80/acre/year. Underestimating pasture production resulted in less hay and silage being produced, more pasture being consumed, and more forage purchased compared to the optimum scenario. The opposite occurred for overestimation of pasture. Our results indicate that achieving greater accuracy (to within 10% of actual pasture yield) in estimating pasture yields will improve forage budgeting and increase net returns.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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