Records from 600-700 commercial beef and sheep farms have identified the close relationship between nitrogen usage, stocking rate and profitability per hectare.
On those farms from 1971-1979 nitrogen usage per hectare increased by 50 per cent and the average stocking rate by 25 per cent. Most of the increase in stocking rate occurred on sheep enterprises. On beef units the stocking rate remained fairly constant, but more grass was conserved, less concentrates were fed and slaughter weights increased slightly.
These results are compared with the overall national picture and with meat production in Europe.