Accessibility navigation

Unravelling the rationale of 'overgrazing' and stocking rates in the beef production systems of Central Brazil using a bi-criteria compromise programming model

Costa, F. P. and Rehman, T. (2005) Unravelling the rationale of 'overgrazing' and stocking rates in the beef production systems of Central Brazil using a bi-criteria compromise programming model. Agricultural Systems, 83 (3). pp. 277-295. ISSN 0308-521X

Full text not archived in this repository.

It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2004.02.011


In Central Brazil, the long-term, sustainability of beef cattle systems is under threat over vast tracts of farming areas, as more than half of the 50 million hectares of sown pastures are suffering from. degradation. Overgrazing practised to maintain high stocking rates is regarded as one of the main causes. High stocking rates are deliberate and crucial decisions taken by the farmers, which appear paradoxical, even irrational given the state of knowledge regarding the consequences of overgrazing. The phenomenon however appears inextricably linked with the objectives that farmers hold. In this research those objectives were elicited first and from their ranking two, 'asset value of cattle (representing cattle ownership and 'present value of economic returns', were chosen to develop an original bi-criteria Compromise Programming model to test various hypotheses postulated to explain the overgrazing behaviour. As part of the model a pasture productivity index is derived to estimate the pasture recovery cost. Different scenarios based on farmers' attitudes towards overgrazing, pasture costs and capital availability were analysed. The results of the model runs show that benefits from holding more cattle can outweigh the increased pasture recovery and maintenance costs. This result undermines the hypothesis that farmers practise overgrazing because they are unaware or uncaring caring about overgrazing costs. An appropriate approach to the problem of pasture degradation requires information on the economics,and its interplay with farmers' objectives, for a wide range of pasture recovery and maintenance methods. Seen within the context of farmers' objectives, some level of overgrazing appears rational. Advocacy of the simple 'no overgrazing' rule is an insufficient strategy to maintain the long-term sustainability of the beef production systems in Central Brazil. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:8419
Uncontrolled Keywords:decision-making, farmers' objectives, compromise programming, pasture, degradation, PASTURES

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation