Role of self-sufficiency, productivity and diversification on the economic sustainability of farming systems with autochthonous sheep breeds in less favoured areas in Southern Europe

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Volume 8, Issue 8

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R. Ripoll-Bosch 1

M. Joy 1

A. Bernues 1 2

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https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731113000529

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Abstract

Traditional mixed livestock cereal- and pasture-based sheep farming systems in Europe are threatened by intensification and specialisation processes. However, the intensification process does not always yield improved economic results or efficiency. This study involved a group of farmers that raised an autochthonous sheep breed (Ojinegra de Teruel) in an unfavourable area of North-East Spain. This study aimed to typify the farms and elucidate the existing links between economic performance and certain sustainability indicators (i.e. productivity, self-sufficiency and diversification). Information was obtained through direct interviews with 30 farms (73% of the farmers belonging to the breeders association). Interviews were conducted in 2009 and involved 32 indicators regarding farm structure, management and economic performance. With a principal component analysis, three factors were obtained explaining 77.9% of the original variance. This factors were named as inputs/self-sufficiency , which included the use of on-farm feeds, the amount of variable costs per ewe and economic performance; productivity , which included lamb productivity and economic autonomy; and productive orientation , which included the degree of specialisation in production. A cluster analysis identified the following four groups of farms: high-input intensive system ; low-input self-sufficient system ; specialised livestock system ; and diversified crops-livestock system . In conclusion, despite the large variability between and within groups, the following factors that explain the economic profitability of farms were identified: (i) high feed self-sufficiency and low variable costs enhance the economic performance (per labour unit) of the farms; (ii) animal productivity reduces subsidy dependence, but does not necessarily imply better economic performance; and (iii) diversity of production enhances farm flexibility, but is not related to economic performance.

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Keywords

mixed crop-sheep systems

farm typology

labour profitability

mediterranean areas

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Copyright © 2013 The Animal Consortium. Published by Elsevier B.V.

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Animal. Volume 8, Issue 8. Author links open overlay panel. R. Ripoll-Bosch 1. M. Joy 1. A. Bernues 1 2. Show more. Add to Mendeley. Share. Cite. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731113000529. Get rights and content. Under a Creative Commons. license. Abstract. Traditional mixed livestock cereal- and pasture-based sheep farming systems in Europe are threatened by intensification and specialisation processes. However, the intensification process does not always yield improved economic results or efficiency. This study involved a group of farmers that raised an autochthonous sheep breed (Ojinegra de Teruel) in an unfavourable area of North-East Spain. This study aimed to typify the farms and elucidate the existing links between economic performance and certain sustainability indicators (i.e. productivity, self-sufficiency and diversification). Information was obtained through direct interviews with 30 farms (73% of the farmers belonging to the breeders association). Interviews were conducted in 2009 and involved 32 indicators regarding farm structure, management and economic performance. With a principal component analysis, three factors were obtained explaining 77.9% of the original variance. This factors were named as inputs/self-sufficiency , which included the use of on-farm feeds, the amount of variable costs per ewe and economic performance; productivity , which included lamb productivity and economic autonomy; and productive orientation , which included the degree of specialisation in production. A cluster analysis identified the following four groups of farms: high-input intensive system ; low-input self-sufficient system ; specialised livestock system ; and diversified crops-livestock system . In conclusion, despite the large variability between and within groups, the following factors that explain the economic profitability of farms were identified: (i) high feed self-sufficiency and low variable costs enhance the economic performance (per labour unit) of the farms; (ii) animal productivity reduces subsidy dependence, but does not necessarily imply better economic performance; and (iii) diversity of production enhances farm flexibility, but is not related to economic performance. Previous article in issue. Next article in issue. Keywords. mixed crop-sheep systems. farm typology. labour profitability. mediterranean areas. Recommended articles. Cited by (0) Copyright © 2013 The Animal Consortium. Published by Elsevier B.V.