An economic analysis of perennial cereal crops in Australia

Lindsay Bell, Felicity Byrne, Mike Ewing, Leonard Wade

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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Interest in the possibility of perennial grain crops in Australia is increasing because of the sustainability benefits they could provide. This desktop study aimed to investigate how the economics of a system using perennial cereals might compare to an annual dryland cropping systems in a region of southern Western Australia. Perennial grain crops could provide some input savings for fertiliser, herbicides, tillage and sowing costs but are also likely to have lower yields than annual crops. If an equivalent grain price was received, a perennial cereal for grain production purposes only would need to yield between 60 and 75% of annual wheat to be more profitable on soil types where annual wheat profitability is low. Lower yields could be acceptable for a premium priced product. However, if grain was only suitable for lower price markets (e.g. feed grain receiving $30/t less) then the minimum yield required is > 85% of annual wheat. Alternatively, a dual-purpose perennial grain crop that also provides additional green feed particularly at the beginning of the growing season could greatly increase whole-farm profitability through increased livestock production. A perennial cereal that could provide 800kg DM of additional green feed between harvest and early winter would be selected in a farm plan that maximises profitability even when it receives $30 less per tonne and yields only 40% of annual wheat. This indicates that forage qualities, growth pattern and grazing tolerance of a perennial cereal could be important characteristics to offset lower grain yield and quality than annual cereals.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication14th AAC
Subtitle of host publicationGlobal issues. Paddock action
EditorsM. Unkovich
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherThe Regional Institute
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)1920842349
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event14th Australian Agronomy Conference - Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 21 Sep 200825 Sep 2008


Conference14th Australian Agronomy Conference


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