T.G.H. STOCKWELL1, P.C. SMITH2, D.M. STAFFORD SMITH3 and D.J. HIRST4
1Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries, Katherine, N. T.;
Queensland Department of Primary Industries:2Charters Towers and 4Swan's Lagoon, Queensland;
3Division of Wildlife and Ecology, CSIRO, Alice Springs, N. T.; Australia
Stocking rate and efficiency of production are the basics of sustainable management systems capable of responding to the severe threats of reduced prices and droughts.
Animal management involves the integration of complicated cross-disciplinary information within the context of whole property operation. The use of decision support packages to integrate the large amount of available biological, technical and financial information is a positive step in aiding meaningful decision-making for the short and long term. Simulated case studies are presented which describe various strategies used in two districts of north Australia, and the predicted outcomes when the various scenarios are subjected to climatic or financial stresses. While simulations in both districts support the argument that sustainability depends on property viability, another important factor is the greater possible flexibility in management responses which result on well developed enterprises with conservative stocking rates
Recognition by researchers and advisers of the complexity of the system, and the development of integrated extension and support services which result in adoption of appropriate attitudes to management, decision-making and existing technology are priorities.