The impact of commodity prices and seasonal conditions on the adoption of productive pasture technology during the final 18 months of the Grassland’s Productivity Program Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Summary. Nineteen participants in the Grassland’s Productivity Program were surveyed in autumn 1997 to determine whether they had continued to adopt productive pasture practices during the final 18 months of the program. The objective was to determine whether changes in commodity prices in 1996, involving falls in wool and beef prices and increases in prime lamb prices, and unfavourable seasonal conditions, impacted on the continuing adoption of productive pastures by participants of the Grassland’s Productivity Program. Despite the less favourable market and seasonal conditions, the Grassland’s Productivity Program participants continued to increase their adoption of productive pastures, almost trebling the area of land under the productive pasture technology from mid 1995 to 1997. This was achieved by rationalising farm expenditure in ways to cope with the less favourable conditions. The first was to undertake more pasture manipulation instead of high-cost pasture renovation. The second was to maintain expenditure on phosphorus fertiliser but focusing the application on more productive pasture paddocks. As a result the stocking rate across the whole farm was only increased marginally (by 0.2 dse/ha) from 1995 to 1997. Nevertheless the participants predicted that they would increase their stocking rate by an average of 17% across their farms, from 10.9 to 12.7 dse/ha, by the year 2000. The continuing strong commitment to adopt productive pastures is highlighted by the future intention of over half of the Grassland’s Productivity Program participants (53%) to implement the technology over their whole farm. The remaining participants intended to have at least half their farm under productive pastures. There was no discernible difference between wool growers and prime lamb producers in achieving adoption intentions apart from the area of the farm that is sown to productive species. This indicates that a short-term change in enterprise profitability is not necessarily a major determinant of adoption of more intensive grazing practices by participants in this type of group-facilitated program.

publication date

  • 1998