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Quantifying Land Fragmentation in Northern Irish Cattle Enterprises

Author

Listed:
  • Georgina Milne

    (Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Belfast BT4 3SD, UK)

  • Andrew William Byrne

    (One-Health Unit, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Agriculture House, D02 WK12 Dublin, Ireland)

  • Emma Campbell

    (Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Belfast BT4 3SD, UK)

  • Jordon Graham

    (Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Belfast BT4 3SD, UK)

  • John McGrath

    (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Area Based Scheme), Orchard House, Foyle Street, Derry/Londonderry BT48 6AT, UK)

  • Raymond Kirke

    (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Veterinary Service Animal Health), Ballykelly House, Ballykelly Road, Ballykelly, Limavady BT49 9HP, UK)

  • Wilma McMaster

    (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Land Parcel Identification System), Dundonald House, Belfast BT4 3SB, UK)

  • Jesko Zimmermann

    (Agrifood Business and Spatial Analysis, Rural Economy & Development Programme, Teagasc, Ashtown Research Centre, D15 DY05 Dublin, Ireland)

  • Adewale Henry Adenuga

    (Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Belfast BT4 3SD, UK)

Abstract

Farmland fragmentation is considered to be a defining feature of Northern Ireland’s (NI) agricultural landscape, influencing agricultural efficiency, productivity, and the spread of livestock diseases. Despite this, the full extent of farmland fragmentation in cattle farms in NI is not well understood, and little is known of how farmland fragmentation either influences, or is influenced by, different animal production types. Here, we describe and quantify farmland fragmentation in cattle farms for all of NI, using GIS processing of land parcel data to associate individual parcels with data on the cattle business associated with the land. We found that 35% of farms consisted of five or more fragments, with dairy farms associated with greater levels of farmland fragmentation, fragment dispersal and contact with contiguous neighbours compared to other production types. The elevated levels of farmland fragmentation in dairy production compared to non-dairy, may be associated with the recent expansion of dairy farms by land acquisition, following the abolition of the milk quota system in 2015. The comparatively high levels of farmland fragmentation observed in NI cattle farms may also have important implications for agricultural productivity and epidemiology alike. Whilst highly connected pastures could facilitate the dissemination of disease, highly fragmented land could also hamper productivity via diseconomies of scale, such as preventing the increase of herd sizes or additionally, adding to farm costs by increasing the complexity of herd management.

Suggested Citation

  • Georgina Milne & Andrew William Byrne & Emma Campbell & Jordon Graham & John McGrath & Raymond Kirke & Wilma McMaster & Jesko Zimmermann & Adewale Henry Adenuga, 2022. "Quantifying Land Fragmentation in Northern Irish Cattle Enterprises," Land, MDPI, vol. 11(3), pages 1-16, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jlands:v:11:y:2022:i:3:p:402-:d:767429
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    Cited by:

    1. Dongjie Wang & Hao Yang & Yueming Hu & A-Xing Zhu & Xiaoyun Mao, 2022. "Analyzing Spatio-Temporal Characteristics of Cultivated Land Fragmentation and Their Influencing Factors in a Rapidly Developing Region: A Case Study in Guangdong Province, China," Land, MDPI, vol. 11(10), pages 1-21, October.
    2. Hongbin Liu & Hebin Zhang & Yuxuan Xu & Ying Xue, 2024. "Decision-Making Mechanism of Farmers in Land Transfer Processes Based on Sustainable Livelihood Analysis Framework: A Study in Rural China," Land, MDPI, vol. 13(5), pages 1-22, May.
    3. Adewale Henry Adenuga & Claire Jack & Ronan McCarry, 2023. "Investigating the Factors Influencing the Intention to Adopt Long-Term Land Leasing in Northern Ireland," Land, MDPI, vol. 12(3), pages 1-18, March.
    4. Chenyang Liu & Xiuyi Shi & Cuixia Li, 2023. "Digital Technology, Factor Allocation and Environmental Efficiency of Dairy Farms in China: Based on Carbon Emission Constraint Perspective," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(21), pages 1-22, October.
    5. Lu Niu & Mengyao Xu & Walter Timo de Vries, 2023. "Investigation and Comparison of Spatial–Temporal Characteristics of Farmland Fragmentation in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei Region, China, and Bavaria, Germany," Land, MDPI, vol. 12(7), pages 1-18, July.
    6. Adewale Henry Adenuga & Claire Jack & Ronan McCarry & Paul Caskie, 2023. "Barriers and Enablers of Long‐term Land Leasing: a Case Study of Northern Ireland," EuroChoices, The Agricultural Economics Society, vol. 22(2), pages 20-27, August.

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