The economics of technologies in Swedish pig production
Decisions on technologies, at farm and enterprise levels, have major implications for the biological performance in livestock production, and thereby on the economic benefits of production. However, when existing exogenous conditions are subject to change and influence the economic situation at farm level, the farmer needs to reconsider decisions on the composition of the technology set in order to improve productive performance and profit. The common aim of this thesis relates to the use of specific technologies in Swedish pig production including building design, feeding system, and managerial practices. Hence, a major aim is to analyse the economic value of technologies, considering animal welfare legislation and environmental regulations on production externalities. The thesis consists of four different articles, two of which them concern methods for assessment of the value of technologies. Article I, The value of animal welfare improving technologies in Swedish pig production, assesses the economic value of specific production technologies. Article II, Technology effects on pigsâ€™ feed efficiency, analyses specific technology effects on the quantity of pig meat produced and variance as affected by a change in feed use. The other two articles concern the economic implications of technology use in relation to production externalities. Article III, Utility of phase feeding choices in pig farming, ranks farmersâ€™ utility of using different protein contents in feed taking into account externalities from organic manure. Article IV, Environmental regulations with focus on pig density restriction and farmsâ€™ technologies, analyses the effects of the pig density regulation on intensive pig farming. The effects of several technologies on the cost of altering production to comply with environmental regulations are examined. A major conclusion of this thesis is that an economically rational farmer considers the value of specific technologies that frequently may improve animal welfare, and in some cases also reduce production externalities. However, the economic value and the biological benefits obtained from a given technology vary depending on individual conditions at farm level.
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