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Application of a simulation model for assessing integration of smallholder shifting cultivation and sheep production in Yucatan, Mexico


Parsons, D and Nicholson, CF and Blake, RW and Ketterings, QM and Ramirez-Aviles, L and Cherney, JH and Fox, DG, Application of a simulation model for assessing integration of smallholder shifting cultivation and sheep production in Yucatan, Mexico, Agricultural Systems, 104, (1) pp. 13-19. ISSN 0308-521X (2011) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1016/j.agsy.2010.08.006


Simulation models are effective tools to examine interactions between livestock, cropping systems, households, and natural resources. Our study objective was to use an integrated livestock and crop model to assess the outcomes from selected suites of management decisions observed in smallholder sheep-cropping systems of Yucat疣, Mexico. The scenarios contrasted specialized systems versus mixed farming, and evaluated the outcomes of increased crop僕ivestock integration. Mixed enterprise scenarios involving sheep provided more income than specialized enterprises, and capitalized on a lower price of on-farm maize grain, efficient utilization of surplus labor, and availability of common land. Labor and management income was greatest for the unintegrated and partially integrated crop and livestock scenarios. It was more profitable for producers to sell excess grain and maize stover, and use common land to feed the livestock, suggesting that increased integration does not always result in improved outcomes. The results are consistent with a system not yet pushed to the point where integration is inevitable. For all sets of scenarios, the model structure was able to accommodate subtle management differences to produce appropriate biophysical, labor, and economic outcomes. We conclude there is potential to use similar model development methods to describe other crop僕ivestock systems, thus providing tools for learning, scenario analysis, and impact assessment.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Crop僕ivestock interactions; Crop僕ivestock systems; Milpa; Sheep; Shifting cultivation; System dynamics
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Agriculture, land and farm management
Research Field:Agricultural systems analysis and modelling
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Livestock raising
Objective Field:Sheep for meat
UTAS Author:Parsons, D (Dr David Parsons)
ID Code:57298
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:Agricultural Science
Deposited On:2009-07-02
Last Modified:2015-02-04

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