Estimating the farm-level economic costs of spring cropping to manage Alopecurus myosuroides (black-grass) in UK agriculture

Ahodo, K., Oglethorpe, D., Hicks, H.L. ORCID: 0000-0003-1325-2293 and Freckleton, R.P., 2019. Estimating the farm-level economic costs of spring cropping to manage Alopecurus myosuroides (black-grass) in UK agriculture. Journal of Agricultural Science, 157 (4), pp. 318-332. ISSN 0021-8596

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Crop rotation is a non-chemical strategy adopted by farmers to manage weeds. However not all crops in a rotation are equally profitable. Thus, there is potentially a trade-off between the costs and benefits of this strategy. The objective of the current study is to quantify this trade-off for the rotational control of an important weed (Alopecurus myosuroides). Data from 745 farms were used to parameterize a farm-level mixed-integer goal-programming model of the economics of spring cropping for weed control in UK agriculture. On average the short-term loss of profit from spring cropping is greater than the benefits in terms of reduced herbicide usage and yield increases. These costs are greater when weed densities are low, so that spring cropping is an expensive strategy in the early stages of an infestation. However, there is a great deal of farm-to-farm variation: factors such as soil type and farm size are important and the current study highlights that economic modelling at the farm level is important in enabling farmers to make informed decisions. In general, however, if spring cropping is to be a successful strategy then the benefits to farmers will be in terms of long-term reductions in weed densities, but this will be at the expense of short-term profitability.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Agricultural Science
Creators: Ahodo, K., Oglethorpe, D., Hicks, H.L. and Freckleton, R.P.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Date: May 2019
Volume: 157
Number: 4
ISSN: 0021-8596
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jill Tomkinson
Date Added: 15 Oct 2019 10:35
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2020 04:46

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