The potential cost to New Zealand dairy farmers from the introduction of nitrate-based stocking rate restrictions
Introducing a stocking rate restriction is one possible course of action for regulators to improve water quality where it is affected by nitrate pollution. To determine the impact of a stocking rate restriction on a range of New Zealand dairy farms, a whole-farm model was optimised with and without a maximum stocking rate of 2.5 cows per hectare. Three farm systems, which differ by their level of feed-related capital, were examined for the changes to the optimal stocking rate and optimal level of animal milk production genetics when utility was maximised. The whole-farm model was optimised through the use of an evolutionary algorithm called differential evolution. The introduction of a stocking rate restriction would have a very large impact on the optimally organised high feed-related capital farm systems, reducing their certainty equivalent by almost half. However, there was no impact on the certainty equivalent of low feed-related capital systems.
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- Mayer, D. G. & Kinghorn, B. P. & Archer, A. A., 2005. "Differential evolution - an easy and efficient evolutionary algorithm for model optimisation," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 315-328, March.
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