Beef suckler cow calf farms similarly to firms in other sectors of production operate in competitive and dynamically changing environments. In order to increase profitability and reduce uncertainty, beef suckler cow calf farmers may not be able to change radically their farm resources in the short-run; however they can decide on either retaining or not the ownership of calves. This decision brings changes to the herd size and composition, and ultimately defines the degree of farm’s market integration. Flexibility is a measure of firm’s competitive advantage which reflects its capacity to cope with uncertainty. In this paper two types of flexibility have been estimated, and its determinants have been identified for three cow calf systems. Namely, tactical flexibility indicates farmer’s ability to vary output level in the medium-run, and operational flexibility reflects the ability to adjust product mix in the short-run. In these systems farmer’s decision and time-length to retain their calves differs, thus farm’s flexibility is examined in relation to varying calf retention decisions. Results indicate that calf to weaning farms who retain the ownership of their calves beyond weaning increase both tactical and operational flexibility. Adjustments in cattle marketing strategies increase the flexibility of all beef farms.


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