Productivity and the Dairy Industry
Productivity measurement is useful in some circumstances but not others. Measured productivity is poor for the Australian dairy industry as a whole. This finding is consistent across a range of studies and is confirmed by other information and analysis.It is useful to explore reasons for this poor performance because some public policy questions are related to overall industry performance. In particular, productivity measurement concentrates attention on industry-based research and extension programs.Production (and exports) have increased rapidly in the dairy industry but input use has increased faster. The major change has been increased grain feeding. Both increased purchases of grain and a higher proportion of exports exacerbate the financial risks of dairy farming. Recent drought and associated water shortages in irrigated dairying areas have compounded these systematic changes. By definition, estimates of average productivity in the whole dairy industry have little to say about what is happening on individual farms. Moreover, productivity is measured using annual data on inputs and outputs. While day-to-day technical and management skills are important, many of the crucial economic decisions by farmers are long-term. Aggregate productivity analysis is a useful first step in analysing industry performance. A next step is disaggregating the data to identify inputs, regions or time periods of particular interest. The time path of prices, policy changes and the weather continue to have most effect on the dairy industry. A conclusion that follows from recent experience is that the change to increased grain feeding has not been well understood in its scientific dimension, nor well executed at the farm level. Furthermore, expected gains from specialisation in manufacturing milk production following deregulation have not been realised for technical reasons, presumably related to poor reproductive performance. In particular, it appears that farmers have been given poor information on the difference between the marginal costs and marginal benefits of concentrate feeding in different time periods and circumstances. Nor have the financial consequences been properly considered in advice that has been given to farmers. Production is not the same as productivity. Increased production and exports should not be promoted as such by dairy companie
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Fraser, I. & Cordina, D., 1999. "An application of data envelopment analysis to irrigated dairy farms in Northern Victoria, Australia," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 267-282, March.
- Graham, Mary & Fraser, Iain, 2003. "Scale Efficiency In Australian Dairy Farms," 2003 Conference (47th), February 12-14, 2003, Fremantle, Australia 57878, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
- Tom Kompas & Tuong Nhu Che, 2003.
"Productivity in the Australian Dairy Industry,"
International and Development Economics Working Papers
idec03-8, International and Development Economics.
- Fraser, Iain & Hone, Phillip, 2001. "Farm-level efficiency and productivity measurement using panel data: wool production in south-west Victoria," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 45(2), June.
- Fraser, Iain & Graham, Mary, 2005. "Efficiency Measurement of Australian Dairy Farms: National and Regional Performance," Australasian Agribusiness Review, University of Melbourne, Melbourne School of Land and Environment, vol. 13.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:auagre:126554. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.