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Merging Small Scattered Pastures into Large Pasture-Forest Mosaics Can Improve Profitability in Swedish Suckler-Based Beef Production

1
Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, PO Box 234, 53223 Skara, Sweden
2
Rural Economy and Agricultural Society Sjuhärad, PO Box 5007, 51405 Länghem, Sweden
3
Department of Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, PO Box 7013, 75007 Uppsala, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 March 2018 / Revised: 26 April 2018 / Accepted: 28 April 2018 / Published: 3 May 2018
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Abstract

A scattered structure of small pastures has negative effects on profitability in beef enterprises because small enclosures result in high labor costs per livestock unit. Moreover, larger enterprises distribute the costs across more livestock units and hence achieve lower operating costs. Creating larger coherent pastures makes it easier to increase herd size and yields positive effects due to economies of scale. This study on five Swedish organic cow-calf enterprises examined how profitability is affected by creating larger pastures from small scattered pastures and adjacent forest land. Additional income, additional costs, reduced income and reduced costs were taken into account using a partial budgeting technique. A change to larger coherent pastures was found to be profitable for all enterprises examined. Agri-environmental payments and supports were the most important benefit from creating larger pastures, followed by income increases and cost reductions resulting from economies of scale and improved consolidation. Income reductions due to premature final felling (clearcutting of forest land) and the opportunity cost of forest land did not have a major influence. To conclude, creating large coherent pasture-forest mosaics by merging small scattered enclosures is profitable for Swedish organic cow-calf enterprises. View Full-Text
Keywords: pasture; semi-natural grassland; pasture-forest mosaic; cow-calf; beef; cattle; cow; economic; profitability; consolidation pasture; semi-natural grassland; pasture-forest mosaic; cow-calf; beef; cattle; cow; economic; profitability; consolidation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Holmström, K.; Hessle, A.; Andersson, H.; Kumm, K.-I. Merging Small Scattered Pastures into Large Pasture-Forest Mosaics Can Improve Profitability in Swedish Suckler-Based Beef Production. Land 2018, 7, 58.

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