Economic impact of Vulpia in temperate pasture systems in south-eastern Australia

David T. Vere, R. E. Jones, P. M. Dowling, D. R. Kemp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

An increasing incidence of annual grasses is considered to be a primary cause of decline in the productivity of Australia's temperate pasture systems. In particular, Vulpia (silver grass) comprises a significant proportion of the biomass of many temperate pastures and can seriously affect livestock productivity. The main economic effects of Vulpia include reducing pasture carrying capacities, contaminating produce and competing with more desirable pasture species. This paper presents the results of an economic evaluation of the costs of Vulpia and the long-term benefits of improving Vulpia management in the high-rainfall areas of south-eastern Australia. The evaluation used an integrated economic modelling system that determined the grazing system and livestock industry impacts of Vulpia and translated these into measures of economic welfare change that enabled the benefit-cost analysis of various levels of Vulpia management to be undertaken. With a focus on wool, the analysis established the high annual costs of Vulpia to wool producers and consumers, together with substantial long-term economic benefits that could potentially result from reducing the incidence of Vulpia in pastures. Total annual costs to the wool industry in the temperate pasture zone of New South Wales and Victoria ranged between A$7 and $30 million, while the potential discounted net benefits to the Australian and international wool industries were between $32 and $287 million over a 15-year period at a real discount rate of 5%. These estimates provide a strong economic basis for promoting improved management strategies for reducing Vulpia incidence in pastures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-472
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of Experimental Agriculture
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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