Seasonal labour is the most profitable use of labour in broadacre crop dominant farms

Labour scarcity and affordability have encouraged many farmers in Western Australia to focus more on cropping than sheep production. Many farmers are opting to run low input livestock systems. This paper examines labour demand for sheep and cropping during the production year, combined with various scenarios of labour availability and cost. The implications for farm profitability and enterprise selection are examined using the bio-economic farming systems model MIDAS (Model of an Integrated Dryland Agricultural System). Labour requirements for sheep are far greater than those for cropping. Additionally the labour requirements for sheep are high in all production periods whilst the seasonal nature of cropping means more time is required only at certain times of the year, particularly at seeding and harvest. This means that the most profitable labour option is employing casual labour during periods of peak demand for cropping. The lesser relative profitability of the sheep enterprise makes employing a permanent worker the least profitable labour option. By contrast, employing casual labour during busy periods for cropping is more profitable but it is also associated with only small areas of perennial pastures being sown which has environmental implications. The logistics of employing labour at only certain times of the year compared to employing a full time worker means that farmers need to pay more per week to employ these workers or do the extra work themselves.


Issue Date:
2009
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
Record Identifier:
http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/47947
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/47947
Total Pages:
23




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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