NPR - How Do Organic, Integrated And Conventional Sheep/beef Farms Differ In Meat Production? (p151-163)
New Zealand’s pastoral livestock farm systems, once predominantly breeding/finishing properties geared towards the commodity market have become increasingly diverse niche market producers leading to the development of additional farm management styles such as organic and integrated management. Farmers implementing these systems produce to specific standards, which may constrain their otherwise conventional management style.
ARGOS, a research project with the aim to investigate the economic, environmental, and social differences between organic, integrated and conventional systems of production, has collected 4 years of meat production data from 36 South Island sheep and beef farms and has used this to measure physical production differences between Organic, Integrated and Conventional sheep/beef farms. Net meat export was used as the performance indicator to compare these farming systems. Organic management systems had 60% net meat export of integrated and conventional systems for lamb however variability within the management systems masked significant differences for carcass weight sold or the distribution of monthly sales and purchases.
Likewise there were no significant differences between management systems when the net meat export values was used as a measure of production efficiency based on the net meat exported as a percentage of sheep wintered.
The variability highlights the uniqueness and complexity of individual farm systems.
Keywords: Agriculture, organic, integrated management, sustainability.