A Whole-Farm Model for Economic Analysis of Medic Pasture and Other Dryland Crops in Two-Year Rotations with Wheat in Northwest Syria
Nordblom, T., Christiansen, S., Nersoyan, N., Bahhady, F. 1992. A whole-farm model for economic analysis of medic pasture and other dryland crops in two-year rotations with wheat in northwest Syria. ICARDA-066. ICARDA, Aleppo, Syria. Oct. 1992.
103 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2012
Date Written: October 1, 1992
This analysis is based on an experiment aimed at comparing a dryland medic – wheat system with traditional two-year crop rotations with wheat: fallow, watermelon, lentil and vetch. Pasture is marketed through the farmer’s sheep; likewise crop residues (straws and stubbles), but these have the additional options of being sold to others. A linear programming model is developed to investigate the whole-farm economics of these systems: the first such analysis of medic pasture at any site in the West Asia / North Africa region. The model can be used with data from other sites.
The large field experiment was conducted at ICARDA’s Tel Hadya research station, near Aleppo, over six seasons (1986-1991). Cash and labor budgets for crop and pasture production are based on the experiment, adjusted by farmer-practice as found in surveys of the area. Average yields from the rotation experiment (on cracking vertisol soil) are used: wheat grain yields were highest (about 2.1 t/ha) after watermelon or fallow, and about 500 kg/ha lower after lentil or vetch; a further 200 kg/ha reduction was associated with medic pasture. Local market prices are deflated and averaged over the same six years. Assumptions on seasonal sheep nutrition, management and productivity are matched to local conditions. Over 50% of farms in the area are of 20 ha or less in size. Farm size (16, 32 and 64 ha), family labor availability and subsistence cash needs, and wages of hired labor, are also factors in this analysis.
The results under average deflated prices of the period, and across all farm sizes, show the medic pasture-wheat rotation is not competitive with any of the traditional rotations; they all give higher whole-farm incomes. Rotations with labour-intensive crops (lentil and watermelon) are economically dominant. But these price conditions may not hold for all farms or for all future years. Under hypothetical conditions where hired labor costs are doubled, off-farm work by family members is blocked and straw prices are halved (approximately the case of farms in isolated locations), medic pasture becomes competitive on larger farms (64 ha) but remains the poorest option on small farms (16 ha). This trend is more pronounced with the added condition that wheat grain price is lowered to SL 4.5/kg, approximating a depressed world price of around $100/t: on larger farms, medic pasture-wheat returns the highest whole-farm income, followed by vetch-wheat, watermelon-wheat, fallow-wheat and lentil-wheat; on smaller farms, however, lentil-wheat remains best.
Sensitivity analyses, with increments of pasture productivity and wheat grain yields after medic pasture, are done to help define productivity targets for research. The analysis indicates a need for a shift in focus of medic pasture-cereal rotation research to areas where farms tend to be larger and where high-value labor-intensive rainfed crops do not provide strong economic competition.
Keywords: Bio-economic, Optimization, Linear programming, Whole-farm model, Sensitivity analysis, Farm size, Sheep, Nutritive requirements, Stocking rates, Sown pasture, Production practices, Family labor, Hired labor, Costs, Prices, Crop budgets, Crop rotations, Wheat, Fallow, Watermelon, Vetch, Lentil, Medi
JEL Classification: N55, O12, O13, Z13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation