|Title||Yield gap analysis of beef production systems: the case of grass-based production in France|
|Author(s)||Linden, A. van der; Oosting, S.J.; Ven, Gerrie van de; Veysset, Patrick; Ittersum, M.K. van; Boer, I.J.M. de|
|Event||EAAP 68th Annual Meeting of the Animal Science (EAAP), Tallinn, 2017-08-28/2017-09-01|
Animal Production Systems
Plant Production Systems
|Publication type||Abstract in scientific journal or proceedings|
|Abstract||Increasing livestock production per hectare agricultural land is a way to meet the increasing global demand for animal-source food in future decades. The bio-physical scope to increase livestock production is referred to as the yield gap. The aim of this research is to analyse yield gaps for the case of beef production systems in the Charolais region of France. Beef production per unit area should also account for the area used for all corresponding feed crops (feed-crop livestock system). The yield gap of feed-crop livestock systems is defined as the difference between the potential production (YP) or resource-limited production (YL) and the actual production (YA). YP is defined by climate and by the genotypes of beef cattle and of feed crops only. YL is defined by climate and genotypes too, but is also affected by feed quality, feed quantity, drinking water (cattle), irrigation water, and nutrients (feed crops).
Mechanistic, dynamic production models for beef cattle and feed crops were combined to simulate YP and YL for twelve farm types in the Charolais region. YP was 2,377 kg live weight (LW)/ha/year, and YL was on average 664 kg LW/ha/year. The average YA was 354 kg LW/ha/year. Hence, relative yield gaps were 85% of YP, and on average 47% of YL. Farm types with limited concentrate use produced more human digestible protein (beef) than they required
as feed input under resource-limited production. The magnitude of yield gaps was negatively correlated with the profit per hectare up to 2014. Improved grazing management and an earlier start of the grazing season may mitigate
yield gaps and increase profitability under current and future conditions. We conclude that beef production systems in the Charolais region have a considerable scope to increase production from a bio-physical perspective, but yield gap mitigation was less profitable than farm expansion up to 2014.