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Tactical management of pasture fallows in Western Australian cropping systems

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  • Doole, Graeme J.
  • Weetman, Ellen

Abstract

Agricultural systems in the Western Australian wheatbelt are increasingly moving towards specialist crop production due to elevated cereal prices, depressed markets for livestock products, and ongoing labour scarcity. However, the profitability of crop-only farms is threatened by increasing levels of herbicide resistance and declining soil fertility. This study determines the value of ungrazed pasture fallows grown tactically between crop phases to address these agronomic constraints. A novel metaheuristic optimisation technique, compressed annealing, is used to determine profitable flexible land-use sequences in a complex simulation model. Tactical use of single-year, ungrazed pasture phases is found to be more valuable than the use of break crops in crop-only systems. In contrast to previous analysis, it is identified that rotation of short periods of crop and pasture is more profitable than extended phases of both. Effective weed control without dependence on selective herbicides is the key agronomic characteristic determining the value of intermittent pasture phases. Accordingly, the number of single-year pasture phases employed in a sequence should increase with the severity of herbicide resistance. Compressed annealing is shown to be a practical method of identifying profitable land-use sequences that respond to information that unfolds dynamically.

Suggested Citation

  • Doole, Graeme J. & Weetman, Ellen, 2009. "Tactical management of pasture fallows in Western Australian cropping systems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 102(1-3), pages 24-32, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:102:y:2009:i:1-3:p:24-32
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Graeme J. Doole & David J. Pannell & Clinton K. Revell, 2009. "Economic contribution of French serradella (Ornithopus sativus Brot.) pasture to integrated weed management in Western Australian mixed-farming systems: an application of compressed annealing ," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 53(2), pages 193-212, April.
    2. David J. Pannell, 2006. "Flat Earth Economics: The Far-reaching Consequences of Flat Payoff Functions in Economic Decision Making," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 28(4), pages 553-566.
    3. Pannell, D. J. & Falconer, D. A., 1988. "The relative contributions to profit of fixed and applied nitrogen in a crop-livestock farm systems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-17.
    4. Pannell, David J. & Stewart, Vanessa & Bennett, Anne & Monjardino, Marta & Schmidt, Carmel & Powles, Stephen B., 2004. "RIM: a bioeconomic model for integrated weed management of Lolium rigidum in Western Australia," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 305-325, March.
    5. Kingwell, Ross S. & Pannell, David J. & Robinson, Stephen D., 1993. "Tactical responses to seasonal conditions in whole-farm planning in Western Australia," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 211-226, March.
    6. Graeme J. Doole & David J. Pannell, 2008. "Optimisation of a Large, Constrained Simulation Model using Compressed Annealing," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 188-206, February.
    7. Doole, Graeme J., 2007. "A primer on implementing compressed simulated annealing for the optimisation of a constrained simulation model in Microsoft Excel," Working Papers 7420, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    8. Poole, M. L. & Turner, Neil C. & Young, J. M., 2002. "Sustainable cropping systems for high rainfall areas of southwestern Australia," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 53(1-3), pages 201-211, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Beltran, Jesusa C. & Pannell, David J. & Doole, Graeme J. & White, Benedict, 2012. "A bioeconomic model for analysis of integrated weed management strategies for annual barnyardgrass (Echinochloa crus-galli complex) in Philippine rice farming systems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 1-10.
    2. Beltran, Jesusa C. & Pannell, David J. & Doole, Graeme J. & White, Benedict, 2012. "Economic analysis of integrated weed management strategies for annual barnyardgrass (Echinochloa crus-galli complex) in Philippine rice farming systems," 2012 Conference (56th), February 7-10, 2012, Fremantle, Australia 124236, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.

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