A dynamic bio-economic model to simulate optimal adjustments of suckler cow farm management to production and market shocks in France
Tactical adjustments to seasonal weather conditions and beef price may generate additional income or avoid losses in French beef cattle farms. Due to the length of the suckler cow production cycle, adjustment decisions may impact not only on current production and profit but also on future farm outcomes. To better understand the consequences of shocks and subsequent production adjustments on the evolution of farm earnings and production over time, we built a dynamic recursive bio-economic farm model. Our model introduced simultaneously the possibility of adjusting herd size and herd composition, diet composition and diet energy content, as well as crop rotation, haymaking and feed stocks, taking into account both their short- and long-term consequences. An application is provided to test impacts of crop yield and beef price shocks of different intensities. Main simulated adjustments to face unfavourable weather shocks are (1) purchased feed in order to maintain animal production objectives, and (2) area of pasture harvested for haymaking. Very severe beef price shocks induce forced sales. Weather shocks affect farm net profit not only of the current year but also of the following years. Profit losses caused by unfavourable weather conditions are not compensated by gains in favourable ones and this differential is amplified when intensity of shocks rises.
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