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Optimal combinable and dedicated energy crop scenarios for marginal land

Author

Listed:
  • Glithero, N.J.
  • Wilson, P.
  • Ramsden, S.J.

Abstract

Modern biomass energy sources account for less than 2% of primary world energy supplies while major economies have enabled legislation that aims to increase bioenergy production. In response to controversies over first generation biofuel, it has been argued that ‘marginal land’ should be used to produce dedicated energy crops (DECs). However, defining marginality of agricultural land is complex, and moreover, DECs would have to out-compete current agricultural production in these areas. Utilising a bio-economic farm-level modelling approach we investigate the impact that crop yield penalties resulting from production in marginal land contexts have on financially optimal farm-level crop plans. Where farm businesses choose to de-invest in own farm machinery, yield reductions of less than 10% for winter wheat result in a financially optimal switch to 100% miscanthus production. By contrast, in the presence of own farm machinery, winter wheat yield penalties of 30% are required before 100% miscanthus production is financially optimal. However, under circumstances where DECs also suffer yield penalties on marginal land, the financially optimal crop mix includes combinable crops. The results demonstrate that the optimal crop mix is dependent upon the relative combinable and DEC yields, together with farm-level decisions towards machinery ownership. The focus of much policy attention relating to production of DECs on ‘marginal land’ is therefore argued to be incomplete. Policies which encourage farmers to de-invest in own farm machinery, or incentivise the purchase of specific DEC machinery, may play an important role in assisting the development of DEC production.

Suggested Citation

  • Glithero, N.J. & Wilson, P. & Ramsden, S.J., 2015. "Optimal combinable and dedicated energy crop scenarios for marginal land," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 82-91.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:appene:v:147:y:2015:i:c:p:82-91
    DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2015.01.119
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sherrington, Chris & Moran, Dominic, 2010. "Modelling farmer uptake of perennial energy crops in the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 3567-3578, July.
    2. G. M. Peterson & J. K. Galbraith, 1932. "The Concept of Marginal Land," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 14(2), pages 295-310.
    3. Glithero, N.J. & Ramsden, S.J. & Wilson, P., 2012. "Farm systems assessment of bioenergy feedstock production: Integrating bio-economic models and life cycle analysis approaches," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 53-64.
    4. Derek Headey & Shenggen Fan, 2008. "Anatomy of a crisis: the causes and consequences of surging food prices," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(s1), pages 375-391, November.
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    6. Alexander, Peter & Moran, Dominic, 2013. "Impact of perennial energy crops income variability on the crop selection of risk averse farmers," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 587-596.
    7. Janssen, Sander & van Ittersum, Martin K., 2007. "Assessing farm innovations and responses to policies: A review of bio-economic farm models," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 94(3), pages 622-636, June.
    8. Shortall, O.K., 2013. "“Marginal land” for energy crops: Exploring definitions and embedded assumptions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 19-27.
    9. Wilson, P. & Glithero, N.J. & Ramsden, S.J., 2014. "Prospects for dedicated energy crop production and attitudes towards agricultural straw use: The case of livestock farmers," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 101-110.
    10. Bocquého, G. & Jacquet, F., 2010. "The adoption of switchgrass and miscanthus by farmers: Impact of liquidity constraints and risk preferences," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 2598-2607, May.
    11. Glithero, Neryssa J. & Wilson, Paul & Ramsden, Stephen J., 2013. "Prospects for arable farm uptake of Short Rotation Coppice willow and miscanthus in England," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 209-218.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:renene:v:114:y:2017:i:pb:p:781-793 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Townsend, Toby J. & Ramsden, Stephen J. & Wilson, Paul, 2016. "Analysing reduced tillage practices within a bio-economic modelling framework," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 91-102.
    3. Townsend, Toby J. & Ramsden, Stephen J. & Wilson, Paul, 2015. "Towards Sustainable Intensification of Cropping Systems: Analysing Reduced Tillage Practices within a Bio-Economic Modelling Framework," 89th Annual Conference, April 13-15, 2015, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 204298, Agricultural Economics Society.
    4. repec:eee:appene:v:205:y:2017:i:c:p:477-485 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Adams, P.W.R. & Lindegaard, K., 2016. "A critical appraisal of the effectiveness of UK perennial energy crops policy since 1990," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 188-202.

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