Bio-economic evaluation of pasture-cropping, a novel system of integrating perennial pastures and crops on crop-livestock farms

Pasture-cropping is a novel approach to increase the area of perennial crops in mixed sheep and cropping systems. It involves planting annual cereals directly into a living perennial pasture. There is interest in subtropical grasses as they are winter dormant and their growth profile is potentially well suited to pasture-cropping. However, a wide range of factors can affect the uptake of such systems. This paper assesses the relative importance of factors that can influence decisions to introduce pasture-cropping. In this paper the research question is: what factors predispose a farm to take up a new technology such as (1) subtropical grass and (2) subtropical grass that is pasture-cropped. The analysis uses the MIDAS model of a central wheatbelt farm in Western Australia. The results suggest the adoption of subtropical grasses is likely to be strongly influenced by soil mix; feed quality; and whether the farm is predominantly grazing or cropping and by the presence of meat versus wool producing animals. The same factors are relevant for subtropical grass that is pasture-cropped but in addition yield penalties due to competition between the host perennial and the companion cereal become important. The results suggest the level of forage production by subtropical grass is less important but this factor is likely to become more important if feed quality can be improved.

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

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