The economic viability and potential of a novel poultry agroforestry system
Yates, C., Dorward, P., Hemery, G. and Cook, P. (2007) The economic viability and potential of a novel poultry agroforestry system. Agroforestry Systems, 69 (1). pp. 13-28. ISSN 0167-4366
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1007/s10457-006-9015-8
Investigating agroforestry systems that incorporate poultry is warranted in Northern Europe as they may offer benefits including: improved welfare and use of range; reduced feed costs; price premia on products; reduced payback periods for forests; and, greater returns on investment. Free-range egg production accounts for 27% of the United Kingdom egg market and demand for outdoor broilers is increasing. No research has been conducted recently on the economic viability of agroforestry systems with poultry. An economic model was constructed to: assess economic viability of a broiler agroforestry system; and, investigate the sensitivity of economic performance to key factors and interactions, and identify those which warrant attention in research and management. The system modelled is a commercial trial established in Southern England in 2002 where deciduous trees were planted and broilers reared in six- or nine-week periods. The model uses Monte Carlo simulation and financial performance analyses run for a 120-year period. An Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 15.5% is predicted for the six-week system which remains viable under a 'worst case' scenario (IRR of 12.6%). Factors which affect financial performance most (decreasing in magnitude) are prices achieved for broilers, costs of brooding houses, chicks, arks, feed and timber prices. The main anticipated effects of biological interactions on financial performance (increased ranging on feed conversion and excess nutrient supply on tree health) were not supported by analysis. Further research is particularly warranted on the welfare benefits offered by the tree component and its relation to price premia.