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Abstract

The productivity of improved pastures in Australia's southeastern grazing regions is now believed to be in a state of long-te1m decline. As yet, there is little economic evidence to support this perception. The analysis reported in this paper seeks to examine improved pasture productivity change from an economic standpoint in a major Australian grazing area. The analysis rests on the central proposition that the productivity of the livestock enterprises is a direct reflection of pasture productivity. Using both index number and econometric methods, the results indicate that while the annual growth in livestock and hence, improved pasture productivity has been positive over the period, there has been a significant decline in legume pasture productivity. Because these pastures comprise the bulk of improved pastures, the livestock productivity of all improved pastures has declined in recent years. In contrast, the growth in livestock productivity from the perennial grass pastures continues to be high. The main reasons for legume pasture livestock productivity decline appear to be various important biological problems and the long-term decline in the farmers' terms-of-trade. Published by Elsevier Science B.V.

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