Stocktake: balancing supply and demand

Stocktake is a paddock-scale land condition monitoring and management package. It has been developed to provide grazing land managers with a practical, systematic way to:

  • assess land condition and long-term carrying capacity
  • calculate short-term forage budgets.

On this page:

  • Why choose Stocktake?
  • The Stocktake package
  • Database updates
  • Stocktake Plus factsheets

Why choose Stocktake?

Using paddock condition indicators, together with grass growth predictions for local land types, Stocktake allows managers to quantify the effect that sub-optimal land condition is having on their long-term paddock carrying capacity. The forage budgeting technique has been included as a secondary component of the system. It provides a dynamic tool for land managers to adjust stock numbers based on seasonal forage supply. Stocktake is primarily about monitoring. For specific information about management see our Grazing Land Management package.

Stocktake differs from other natural resource monitoring systems in three key areas:

1. Scale of assessment

Grazing land managers are required to make stocking and management decisions on a paddock-by-paddock basis. Many existing resource monitoring systems are point, or transect based, and focus on collecting data about specific aspects of the grazing system. In extensive grazing systems where paddocks often have a heterogeneous mix of landforms, soils, vegetation and infrastructure, a point-scale monitoring system alone is inadequate for broad scale assessment of land condition. Stocktake allows monitoring and assessment at a land-type scale.

2. Resource monitoring in terms of ecosystem health and long-term productivity

The ABCD land condition framework provides a standard means of assessing and rating grazing land condition. This framework scores land condition based on an assessment of key indicators of current soil, pasture and woodland condition. ‘A’ land condition is when the ecosystem is in the best condition and ecosystem processes, including cycling of nutrients, cycling of water and energy flow, are most efficient. ‘D’ land condition is when it is poorest and requires remediation.

By using an ecosystem approach, the system acknowledges the importance that all components have on grazing productivity. For example, poor soil condition or woodland thickening. In a pasture-only monitoring system such imbalances would go unnoticed. A simple field assessment system for the ABCD framework has been developed for Stocktake. Forage budgets provide a means for then tactically adjusting stock numbers based on seasonal conditions.

3. Data management and meaningful interpretation of results

A key downfall with many monitoring systems is the lack of meaningful interpretation of results by grazing land managers. The Stocktake package includes a comprehensive Stocktake Plus app, which chronologically stores, collates, reports on and interprets the field data in terms of short and long-term carrying capacity. Information that can be generated by the app includes:

1. land condition of land types within a paddock (‘A’ to ‘D’)
2. paddock carrying capacity in current (‘A’ to ‘D’) and in optimum (‘A’) land condition
3. number of days the current forage in your paddock will last with the current stock numbers
4. number of adult equivalents that can be carried in a paddock for a particular period while maintaining a desired dry matter residual.

The Stocktake package

  1. Training workshop: a one-day practical training workshop that takes participants through the technical concepts and demonstrates field techniques and Stocktake Plus app use or paper-based calculations.
  2. Training manual: provided in association with the training workshop, the manual documents the key concepts covered in the training workshop.
  3. Field assessment system: how field information is collected and organised before it is entered into the database.
  4. Field recording booklet: a booklet of field recording sheets kept as an original chronological record of field data.
  5. Stocktake Plus app: chronologically stores, organises and reports on field data, and has the capacity to store images.

Database replaced by Stocktake Plus app

The Stocktake database, used as part of this monitoring package, has been replaced by the Stocktake Plus app, released April 2013. The current version of the Stocktake database is v2.7 and this version was last updated in August 2010. It is not going to be updated again. Therefore, any bugs in the version will not be fixed and it is running on outdated pasture growth models.

If you have a smart phone or tablet please download the Stocktake Plus app from your app store. Stocktake Plus is free to all users and available for both Apple and Android.

If you don’t have a smart phone or tablet you can continue to use the Stocktake database, however, please note the long-term carrying capacity and forage budgeting calculations from this software may not be as accurate as the new Stocktake Plus app.

For best results and improved functionality we recommend you upgrade to the Stocktake Plus app when you have a suitable device.

If you’re interested in attending a one-day workshop, contact your local beef extension officer. Check our events calendar for scheduled workshops.

Download Stocktake Plus.

Download Stocktake Plus fact sheets: