Farming Systems in the Central West of NSW: An Economic Analysis

The objectives of this report have been to describe important farming systems in the Central West of NSW, to gain some insights into current financial performance and to examine in more detail the role of pastures in these farming systems at a time when the profitability of wool growing has been low relative to grain growing. While farms and farming systems vary considerably across the region, a majority can be broadly grouped into a mixed livestock and cropping category. Although there is also significant variability within this category, two representative farms and farming systems were developed for the region with the assistance from a small group of farmers and extension staff from NSW Agriculture. One represents the farms and farming systems east of Condobolin and the other represents the farms and farming systems to the west of Condobolin. Whole-farm budget models have been developed for each to provide a description of the farms in this region and an indication of their current profitability. They are useful to give an indication of how farm income might be altered by the introduction of some new technology, a new enterprise such a pulse crop, or an alternative management practice. This report presents some examples of their application but importantly it has provided a template for the development of additional whole-farm budgets for alternative farming systems in this and other regions. Using the whole-farm budget representing farms east of Condobolin, and a linear programming model, PRISM Condobolin, this report shows that the optimal length of pasture is fairly insensitive to changing market signals for both cropping and livestock commodities. It also shows that although length of pasture is insensitive, the optimal mix of enterprises does change, highlighting the importance of considering the interactions between enterprises in whole-farm analysis.

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Economics Research Report No. 7

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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