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Long-Run versus Short-Run Planning Horizons and the Rangeland Stocking Rate Decision


  • L. Allen Torell
  • Kenneth S. Lyon
  • E. Bruce Godfrey


Reduced future forage production, diminished range condition, and reduced animal performance have been major factors considered when setting rangeland stocking rates. The relative economic importance of diminished current period animal performance versus intertemporal forage production impacts was investigated using a dynamic optimal control model. The model is applied to yearling stocker production in eastern Colorado. Results indicate that intertemporal grazing impacts to forage production are not that important; reduced weight gain during the current period drives the economic stocking rate decision. Further, ranchers have no economic incentive as profit maximizers to continually overgraze the range.

Suggested Citation

  • L. Allen Torell & Kenneth S. Lyon & E. Bruce Godfrey, 1991. "Long-Run versus Short-Run Planning Horizons and the Rangeland Stocking Rate Decision," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 73(3), pages 795-807.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:73:y:1991:i:3:p:795-807.

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    1. Inocencio Rodriguez & Gerard D'Souza & Thomas Griggs, 2013. "Can Spatial Dependence Enhance Industry Sustainability? The Case of Pasture-Based Beef," Working Papers Working Paper 2013-04, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University.
    2. Edward B. Barbier, 2017. "Comment on Chapters 7 and 8," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Poverty Traps, pages 315-322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Boaitey, Albert & Goddard, Ellen & Mohapatra, Sandeep, 2019. "Environmentally friendly breeding, spatial heterogeneity and effective carbon offset design in beef cattle," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 35-45.
    4. Sserunkuuma, Dick & Olson, Kent D., 1998. "Externalities, Risk And The Private Property-Overgrazing Paradox: The Case Of Private Cattle Farms In Nyabushozi County, Western Uganda," Working Papers 14372, University of Minnesota, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy.
    5. Engler, John-Oliver & von Wehrden, Henrik & Baumgärtner, Stefan, 2019. "Determinants of farm size and stocking rate in Namibian commercial cattle farming," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 232-246.
    6. Costanza, V. & Neuman, C. E., 1997. "Managing cattle grazing under degraded forests: An optimal control approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 123-139, May.
    7. Behrendt, Karl & Cacho, Oscar & Scott, James M. & Jones, Randall, 2016. "Using seasonal stochastic dynamic programming to identify optimal management decisions that achieve maximum economic sustainable yields from grasslands under climate risk," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 13-23.
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    9. Finnoff, David & Tschirhart, John, 2005. "Identifying, preventing and controlling invasive plant species using their physiological traits," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 397-416, February.
    10. Wang, Tong & Richard Teague, W. & Park, Seong C. & Bevers, Stan, 2018. "Evaluating long-term economic and ecological consequences of continuous and multi-paddock grazing - a modeling approach," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 197-207.
    11. Gillespie, Jeffrey M. & Wyatt, Wayne & Venuto, Brad & Blouin, David & Boucher, Robert W., 2007. "The Economics of Rotational Grazing in the Gulf Coast Region: Costs, Returns, and Labor Considerations," 2007 Annual Meeting, February 4-7, 2007, Mobile, Alabama 34943, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    12. Tozer, Peter R. & Huffaker, Ray G., 1998. "Dynamics Of Optimal Interactions Between Pasture Production And Milk Yields Of Australian Dairy Farms," 1998 Annual meeting, August 2-5, Salt Lake City, UT 20785, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    13. Kaitibie, Simeon & Epplin, Francis M. & Brorsen, B. Wade & Horn, Gerald W. & Krenzer, Eugene G., Jr. & Paisley, Steven I., 2002. "Derivation And Optimization Of A Stochastic Livestock Weight Gain Response To Stocking Density Model," 2002 Annual Meeting, July 28-31, 2002, Long Beach, California 36538, Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    14. Kaitibie, Simeon & Nganje, William E. & Brorsen, B. Wade & Epplin, Francis M., 2003. "Optimal Grazing Pressure Under Output Price And Production Uncertainty With Alternative Functional Forms," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22020, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    15. Batabyal, Amitrajeet A. & Biswas, Basudeb & Godfrey, E. Bruce, 2003. "A Dynamic And Stochastic Perspective On The Role Of Time In Range Management," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22149, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    16. May, Gary J. & Jones, Rodney D. & Langemeier, Michael R. & Dhuyvetter, Kevin C., 2000. "Influence Of Land Tenure Arrangements On Grazing Management Incentives," 2000 Annual Meeting, June 29-July 1, 2000, Vancouver, British Columbia 36442, Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    17. McCarthy, Nancy & de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 1998. "Land allocation under dual individual-collective use in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 239-264, August.
    18. Quaas, Martin F. & Baumgartner, Stefan & Becker, Christian & Frank, Karin & Muller, Birgit, 2007. "Uncertainty and sustainability in the management of rangelands," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 251-266, April.
    19. Engler, John-Oliver & von Wehrden, Henrik, 2018. "Global assessment of the non-equilibrium theory of rangelands: Revisited and refined," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 479-484.

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