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The role of the level of intensification, productive orientation and self-reliance in extensive beef cattle farms

Escribano, A.J.; Gaspar, P.; Mesias, F.J. and Escribano, M. (2016) The role of the level of intensification, productive orientation and self-reliance in extensive beef cattle farms. Livestock Science, 193, pp. 8-19.

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Summary

Highlights
•The identification of the livestock production systems (LPS) existing in a given area constitutes the first step to manage farms sustainably.
•Management and structure of dehesa beef cattle farms positioned them in a good place regarding PAC's trends (mainly in terms of environmental protection).
•Farms should reduce their dependence on external workforce and subsidies, and increase their productivity and economic performance.
•The latter could be achieved adding value to the products sold, i.e. finishing more calves, developing new products and/or participating in marketing.
•It has not been observed a high relationship between farms the typologies obtained from the analysis of technical-economic aspects, and the previously established groups of farms based on their condition of being organic and productive orientation.
Abstract
The identification of the livestock production systems (LPS) existing in a given area constitutes the first step to manage farms sustainably, since it improves the knowledge of its operation and subsequently allows for establishing the appropriate managerial strategies for each LPS. It is of great interest, as LPS are key for agro-ecosystem conservation and rural population in many areas. The present study was conducted in light of the importance of the beef cattle sector for one of the oldest and most heavily protected agroforestry systems (‘dehesa’, SW Spain and Portugal). A total of 63 beef cattle farms (including organic and conventional ones) were analysed from the structural and technical-economic points of view, aiming to: (i) improve the knowledge of the dehesa beef cattle sector; (ii) define specific managerial strategies tailored to each typology (LPS) in order to increase their sustainability as well as that of the dehesa ecosystem; (iii) clarify whether there is a relationship between the typologies obtained on the basis of technical-economic indicators and a previous classification of the farms based on their condition of being organic, and their productive and market orientation. For this purpose, the analysis paid special attention to the level of intensification, productive orientation (presence of a calf-finishing period) and self-reliance (related to their dependence on subsidies). The methodology yielded the following four typologies: (i) extensive farms selling at weaning with low productivity; (ii) extensive farms with low productivity and high dependence on subsidies; (iii) calf-finishing farms with average stocking rates and high profitability; (iv) irrigated farms with low presence of livestock, and high fixed capital and economic fluxes. In general terms, management and structure of dehesa beef cattle farms positioned them in a good place regarding CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) trends (mainly in terms of environmental protection). However, the farms studied must improve several aspects. Firstly, they need to increase their degree of self-reliance (reducing their dependence on external workforce and subsidies). Secondly, their productivity and economic performance must also be increased. The latter could be achieved by adding value to the products being sold, i.e. finishing more calves, developing new products and/or participating in marketing. Generally speaking, a close relationship between farm typologies and the previously established groups of farms (Conventional, Organic 1 and Organic 2) has not been observed. This was due to the similarities between organic and conventional farms in the context of the dehesas with regard to indicators used in the present study.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Typification, Characterization, Organic, Low-input, Mediterranean, organic farming, organic agriculture, typological characterisation
Agrovoc keywords:
LanguageValueURI
EnglishUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems
Farming Systems > Farm economics
Animal husbandry
Animal husbandry > Production systems > Beef cattle
Farming Systems > Social aspects
Research affiliation: Spain > University of Extremadura
Spain
ISSN:1971-1413
DOI:10.1016/j.livsci.2016.09.006
Related Links:http://www.livestockscience.com/article/S1871-1413(16)30211-6/abstract
Deposited By: Escribano, Dr. Alfredo J
ID Code:30639
Deposited On:14 Oct 2016 07:58
Last Modified:14 Oct 2016 07:58
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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