IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The potential contribution of forage shrubs to economic returns and environmental management in Australian dryland agricultural systems


  • Monjardino, Marta
  • Revell, Dean
  • Pannell, David J.


In face of climate change and other environmental challenges, inclusion of perennial forage shrubs in Australian agricultural systems has the potential to deliver multiple benefits: increased whole-farm profitability and improved natural resource management. The profitability of shrubs was investigated using MIDAS (Model of an Integrated Dryland Agricultural System), a bio-economic model of a mixed crop/livestock farming system. We found that including forage shrubs could increase farm profitability by over 20% for an optimal 10% of farm area in shrubs. The impact of shrubs on whole-farm profit accrues primarily through the provision of a predictable supply of “out-of-season” feed, thereby reducing supplementary feed costs, and through the deferment of grazing of pastures, allowing a higher stocking rate and improved animal production. The benefits for natural resource management include improved water use through summer-active, deep-rooted plants, reduced risk of soil erosion through year-round ground cover and/or wind breaks, reduced soil acidification, increased habitat for biodiversity, and effective carbon storage. Forage shrubs also allow for the productive use of marginal soils. Finally, we discuss other benefits of shrubs such as the effect on lambing and on livestock gut health. The principles revealed by the MIDAS modelling have wide application beyond the region.

Suggested Citation

  • Monjardino, Marta & Revell, Dean & Pannell, David J., 2009. "The potential contribution of forage shrubs to economic returns and environmental management in Australian dryland agricultural systems," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51537, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae09:51537

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pannell, David J., 1997. "Sensitivity analysis of normative economic models: theoretical framework and practical strategies," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 16(2), May.
    2. World Bank, 2009. "Building Response Strategies to Climate Change in Agricultural Systems in Latin America," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12473, The World Bank.
    3. Michele John & David Pannell & Ross Kingwell, 2005. "Climate Change and the Economics of Farm Management in the Face of Land Degradation: Dryland Salinity in Western Australia," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 53(4), pages 443-459, December.
    4. Morrison, David A. & Kingwell, Ross S. & Pannell, David J. & Ewing, Michael A., 1986. "A mathematical programming model of a crop-livestock farm system," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 243-268.
    5. Abadi Ghadim, Amir & Kingwell, Ross & Pannell, David, 1991. "An economic evaluation of deep tillage to reduce soil compaction on crop-livestock farms in Western Australia," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-307.
    6. O'Connell, Michael & Young, John & Kingwell, Ross, 2006. "The economic value of saltland pastures in a mixed farming system in Western Australia," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 371-389, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Finlayson, J.D. & Lawes, R.A. & Metcalf, T. & Robertson, M.J. & Ferris, D. & Ewing, M.A., 2012. "A bio-economic evaluation of the profitability of adopting subtropical grasses and pasture-cropping on crop–livestock farms," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 102-112.
    2. Kragt, Marit Ellen & Pannell, David J. & Robertson, Michael J., 2011. "Easy winnings? The economics of carbon sequestration in agricultural soils," 2011 Conference (55th), February 8-11, 2011, Melbourne, Australia 100575, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    3. Thamo, Tas & Addai, Donkor & Pannell, David J. & Robertson, Michael J. & Thomas, Dean T. & Young, John M., 2017. "Climate change impacts and farm-level adaptation: Economic analysis of a mixed cropping–livestock system," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 99-108.
    4. Finlayson, John & Real, Daniel & Nordblom, Tom & Revell, Clinton & Ewing, Mike & Kingwell, Ross, 2012. "Farm level assessments of a novel drought tolerant forage: Tedera (Bituminaria bituminosa C.H. Stirt var. albomarginata)," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 38-47.
    5. Doole, Graeme J. & Pannell, David J., 2013. "A process for the development and application of simulation models in applied economics," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 57(1), March.
    6. Nasca, J.A. & Feldkamp, C.R. & Arroquy, J.I. & Colombatto, D., 2015. "Efficiency and stability in subtropical beef cattle grazing systems in the northwest of Argentina," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 85-96.
    7. Monjardino, M. & MacLeod, N. & McKellar, L. & Prestwidge, D., 2015. "Economic evaluation of irrigated forage production in a beef cattle operation in the semi-arid tropics of northern Australia," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 122-143.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:iaae09:51537. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.