Farm Table says:
What is the problem?
This thesis paper examines labor demand for sheep and cropping during an average production year in different farming systems under a range of scenarios of labor cost and availability.
What did the research involve?
The scenarios on farming systems profits and enterprise selection are examined using the bio-economic farm model MIDAS (Model of an Integrated Dryland Agricultural System).
What were the key findings?
Labour requirements for sheep are found to be far greater than those for cropping. Additionally, the labor requirements for sheep are found to be high in all production periods. The employing casual labor during busy periods of cropping is more profitable but it is also associated with only small areas of perennial pastures being sown which has environmental implications.
The modeling results give credence to the view that time pressures on farmers and scarcity and affordability of cropping, have encouraged many farmers in Western Australia to focus more on cropping than sheep production over the last couple of decades. Findings also give a rationale as to why many farmers have opted to run low input livestock systems.