357 research outputs found

    On the balance between strategic-basic and applied agricultural research

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    Strategic‚Äźbasic research refers to basic research conducted in strategically selected areas expected to be of social benefit. Recent literature on the processes of basic research and its links to applied research has not been widely discussed in relation to agricultural research. This may have important implications for the question of the optimal allocation of research resources. The links are reviewed and combined into a framework for considering the allocation question. A numerical model suggests that only a small number of the model‚Äôs parameters substantially affect the optimal level of basic research, and that it is not important to identify the optimal solution precisely, since the benefit function is extremely flat around the optimum.Resource /Energy Economics and Policy,

    Policies and politics: Challenges and opportunities for agricultural and resource economists

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    This is a broad-ranging discussion of the role of economics and economists in the formation of government policies. The focus is on helping economists who wish to be influential in the policy process. The paper covers rationales for and against economist involvement in the policy process (market failure, government failure, economist failure), a range of theories that attempt to explain aspects of the policy process, and practical advice and insights based on the experiences of policy economists. Many challenges are highlighted, but some clear opportunities are apparent, particularly through explicit advocacy for the public interest.Agricultural and Food Policy, Crop Production/Industries, Demand and Price Analysis, Environmental Economics and Policy, Farm Management, Political Economy, Resource /Energy Economics and Policy,

    Australian environmental and natural resource policy ‚Äď from the Natural Heritage Trust to Caring for our Country

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    The Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality were major national policies focused on land and water degradation and nature conservation in Australia. These programs fell a long way short of achieving their stated goals. It is proposed that to be able to spend their considerable public funds in cost effective ways, they would have needed a number of particular characteristics. Among other things, they needed to prioritise investments well, consistent with an appropriate role of government, and based on analyses that integrated good quality bio-physical and socio-economic information. They needed to select policy mechanisms that would be appropriate for the circumstances. The incentives created by program rules and procedures should have encouraged environmental managers responsible for program delivery to pursue environmental outcomes cost-effectively. However, the programs did not satisfy these criteria. Prospects for improving matters in the new national program, Caring for our Country, are discussed. It will be difficult to deliver outcomes cost-effectively in the new program for reasons that include capacity constraints in government agencies, time pressures on policy development, and political priorities of governments.policy evaluation, policy mechanism choice, policy implementation,

    THE VALUE OF INFORMATION IN HERBICIDE DECISION MAKING FOR WEED CONTROL IN AUSTRALIAN WHEAT CROPS

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    Most weed control decisions are made with the benefit of some information about weather conditions and actual weed densities. This study is an investigation of the value of adjusting weed control decisions in response to these types of information. For a specific example, it is found that the expected value of information can reach 15% of expected gross margin. The value of information about yield prospects is higher than that for weed density. The value of information is markedly affected by the degree of risk aversion and the type of decision rule adopted. Use of information reduces the expected level of herbicide usage.Crop Production/Industries,

    Policy for climate change adaptation in agriculture

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    A number of Australian governments have established or planned programs to assist farmers in adapting to climate change. This paper considers a potential range of policy responses that may be appropriate for climate change adaptation in agriculture. It discusses the extent to which different policy responses may be justified on the basis of market-failure and the likelihood of positive net benefits. While research and extension have the potential to generate significant benefits, there is a need to carefully consider their rationales and emphases. Given the characteristics of climate change (slow, highly uncertain, small relative to climate variability, spatially heterogeneous), the value of information from research and extension to guide farmers’ decision making about adaptation is likely to be low for decisions about farming practices and land uses. Such information would be more valuable for decisions that are larger and indivisible, such as land purchase or the decision to exit from agriculture. Policy options that appear likely to generate relatively large benefits are technology development, quarantine/eradication/containment of pests and weeds, and water market reform. This assessment is not consistent with the emphasis of existing government programs.Environmental Economics and Policy,

    Combinatorial optimisation of a large, constrained simulation model: an application of compressed annealing

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    Simulation models are valuable tools in the analysis of complex, highly constrained economic systems unsuitable for solution by mathematical programming. However, model size may hamper the efforts of practitioners to efficiently identify the most valuable configurations. This paper investigates the efficacy of a new metaheuristic procedure, compressed annealing, for the solution of large, constrained systems. This algorithm is used to investigate the value of incorporating a sown annual pasture, French serradella (Ornithopus sativa Brot. cv. Cadiz), between extended cropping sequences in the central wheat belt of Western Australia. Compressed annealing is shown to be a reliable means of considering constraints in complex optimisation problems in agricultural economics. It is also highlighted that the value of serradella to dryland crop rotations increases with the initial weed burden and the profitability of livestock production.combinatorial optimisation, crop rotation, simulated annealing, Research Methods/ Statistical Methods, C63, Q15,

    Economics of controlling a spreading environmental weed

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    Weeds can cause significant problems to natural ecosystems. Although there have been numerous studies on the economics of weed control, relatively few of these studies have focused on natural ecosystems. This paper addresses this gap in the literature by assessing the cost-effectiveness of a comprehensive range of control strategies for blackberry (Rubus anglocandicans) in natural environments in Australia. We developed a stochastic dynamic simulation model and a deterministic dynamic optimisation model. The stochastic model calculates the expected net present value (NPV) of a range of control strategies, including any combination of treatment options. The optimisation model identifies the treatment combination that maximises NPV. Both models represent the costs and efficacies of control options over 25 years. The results indicate that using rust (Phragmidium violaceum) as a biological control agent only marginally increases NPV and excluding rust does not affect the optimal choice of other control options. The results also show for a wide range of parameter values that a strategy which combines the herbicide grazon (Triclopyre and picloram) and mowing is optimal. If chemical efficacy decreases by 20 percent it becomes optimal to include grazing blackberry by goats in the control strategy.environment, economics, weed, stochastic, optimisation, management, Environmental Economics and Policy,

    Impacts of risk aversion on whole-farm management in Syria

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    This article reports on a study of the impact of risk on farm management practices in northern Syria, focusing particularly on how these are affected by risk aversion and farm size. The study is based on production data from an eight‚Äźyear field trial and on prices from market surveys. A large linear programming model is built, representing the eight years as observations from a discrete probability distribution. Risk aversion is modelled by inclusion of a utility function with constant relative risk aversion, represented using the DEMP/UEP approach.Farm Management, Risk and Uncertainty,

    Economics of controlling a spreading environmental weed

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    Weeds can cause significant problems to natural ecosystems. Although there have been numerous studies on the economics of weed control, relatively few of these studies have focused on natural ecosystems. This paper addresses this gap in the literature by assessing the cost-effectiveness of a comprehensive range of control strategies for blackberry (Rubus anglocandicans) in natural environments in Australia. We developed a stochastic dynamic simulation model and a deterministic dynamic optimisation model. The stochastic model calculates the expected net present value (NPV) of a range of control strategies, including any combination of treatment options. The optimisation model identifies the treatment combination that maximises NPV. Both models represent the costs and efficacies of control options over 25 years. The results indicate that using rust (Phragmidium violaceum) as a biological control agent only marginally increases NPV and excluding rust does not affect the optimal choice of other control options. The results also show for a wide range of parameter values that a strategy which combines the herbicide grazon (Triclopyre and picloram) and mowing is optimal. If chemical efficacy decreases by 20 percent it becomes optimal to include grazing blackberry by goats in the control strategy.Environment, Economics, Weed, Stochastic, Optimisation, Management, Environmental Economics and Policy,

    Economic evaluation of a weed-activated sprayer for herbicide application to patchy weed populations

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    Spatial distribution of weeds in a crop is patchy. Traditional boom sprayers waste herbicide by applying it to areas where weed density is already low. A new technology, Weed Activated Spray Process (WASP), uses sensors to detect the presence of weeds and control spray nozzles accordingly. The economic benefits of this technology to extensive crop farmers in Western Australia are investigated using a model based on the economics of information. Existing technology is likely to reduce profits because the weed density at which it switches off spraying is too high. Even if sensitivity to low densities could be improved, likely benefits of pre‚Äźcrop usage would still be very low or negative.Crop Production/Industries,
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