Stockplan- exploring management options before dry spells and in drought: 1. development and description
McPhee, MJ, Whelan, MB, Davies, BL, Meaker, GP, Graham, P & Carberry, PM 2013, 'Stockplan- exploring management options before dry spells and in drought: 1. development and description', Natural Sciences Education, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 160-172.
StockPlan is an accredited workshop that assists cattle, sheep meat, and wool producers improve drought management decisions and develop drought plans during dry spells and drought. The objectives of this article are to (1) describe the development of the StockPlan workshop; and (2) describe the equations used in the StockPlan decision support tools (DST). The StockPlan workshop provides training to producers in how to use four DST: (1) Drought Pack based on metabolizable energy (ME) requirements for maintenance and weight gain, calculates the break-even price for different classes of sheep and cattle [e.g., weaners (not suckling), dry, lactating or pregnant stock] for a specified planning period (1–12 months); (2) Feed Sell Agist (FSA) Pack provides an economic analysis of the decision to either: keep and feed, sell, or agist (i.e., moving stock to leased pasture) livestock across different time periods with an option to enter the probability of a drought occurring. FSA Pack calculates an expected value for feed, sell, or agist options across economic variables: costs, cash flow, and bottom line; (3) ImPack assesses the future structure of a herd or flock during a 5- or 10-year planning period; and (4) PlanPack is an interactive word document designed to help producers develop a drought plan. The equations behind the DST Drought Pack, FSA Pack, and ImPack are reported.The StockPlan workshop provides producers with the information and confidence to assist in making better decisions when faced with a prolonged dry spell or impending drought.