Optimal Pest Control in Agriculture

29 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2005

See all articles by Thomas Christiaans

Thomas Christiaans

University of Siegen

Thomas Eichner

University of Siegen - School of Economic Disciplines

Rudiger Pethig

University of Siegen - School of Economic Disciplines; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: July 2005

Abstract

Based on economic methodology we model an ecosystem with two species in predator-prey relationship: mice feed on grain and grain feeds on a resource. With optimizing behaviour of individual organisms a short-run ecosystem equilibrium is defined and characterized that depends on the farmer's use of fertilizer and on the mice population which, in turn, is affected by pesticides. In that way, a microfounded agricultural production function is derived. Linking a sequence of short-run ecosystem equilibria yields the growth function of the mice population which is thus derived rather than assumed. In each period the farmer harvests all grain in excess of some given amount of seed. If she maximizes her present-value profits, optimal farming is shown to depend on the prices of pesticide and grain. It is either optimal to use no pesticide or a moderate amount of pesticide or to apply a chattering control. Pest eradication is never optimal. On the other hand, if the farmer takes into account steady state mice populations only, it may be optimal to eradicate mice or to use no or a moderate amount of pesticide depending on prices as well as on the shape of the grain production function which is determined by micro parameters of grain reproduction.

Keywords: pesticides, agriculture, predator-prey, chattering pest control

JEL Classification: Q24, Q57

Suggested Citation

Christiaans, Thomas and Eichner, Thomas and Pethig, Rudiger, Optimal Pest Control in Agriculture (July 2005). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 1507. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=775464

Thomas Christiaans

University of Siegen ( email )

Hoelderlinstrasse 3
57068 Siegen, NRW 57068
Germany

Thomas Eichner

University of Siegen - School of Economic Disciplines ( email )

Hoelderlinstrasse 3
57068 Siegen
Germany

Rudiger Pethig (Contact Author)

University of Siegen - School of Economic Disciplines ( email )

Hoelderlinstrasse 3
57068 Siegen
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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