Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Northern Australian pasture and beef systems. 2. Validation and use of the Sustainable Grazing Systems (SGS) whole-farm biophysical model

Natalie A. Doran-Browne A D , Steven G. Bray B , Ian R. Johnson A , Peter J. O’Reagain C and Richard J. Eckard A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Melbourne School of Land and Environment, The University of Melbourne, Vic. 3010, Australia.

B Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, PO Box 6014, Rockhampton, Qld 4702, Australia.

C Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, PO Box 976, Charters Towers, Qld 4820, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: n.doran-browne@unimelb.edu.au

Animal Production Science 54(12) 1995-2002 https://doi.org/10.1071/AN14569
Submitted: 13 May 2014  Accepted: 1 August 2014   Published: 20 October 2014

Abstract

The Sustainable Grazing Systems (SGS) model is a biophysical, mechanistic whole-farm model that simulates pasture production based on climate and soil data. While the SGS model has been extensively used for southern temperate systems, the model has yet to be evaluated for use in the tropical rangeland systems of Australia. New pasture parameter sets were developed in SGS to represent groups of grasses with the following common characteristics: (1) 3P grasses represented tropical rangeland grasses that were perennial, palatable and productive, and (2) annual tropical grasses that include both productive and less productive grass species. Fifteen years of data from the long-term Wambiana grazing trial ~70 km south-west of Charters Towers, Queensland, were used to validate the model. The results showed that SGS is capable of representing northern Australian beef systems with modelled outputs for total standing dry matter and steer liveweight in agreement with the year-to-year variation in measured data over three different soil types and two stocking rates. Recommendations for further model development are made, such as incorporating fire, tree growth and the use of urea supplementation in the model. Further testing is required to verify that the new pasture parameter sets are suitable for other regions in northern Australia.

Additional keywords: cattle, modelling, rangelands.


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