Impact of market forces on product quality and grassland condition

David Michalk, Jianping Wu, Warwick Badgery, David Kemp

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper


Meeting demands for livestock products which are predicted to more than double during the next 20 years, is central to the challenge of feeding the world sustainably. Smallholders will play a key role in achieving global security in animal protein. However, this requires a shift from subsistence to market-oriented farming where production efficiency not the number of livestock is the key focus with the aim of producing ‘more from less’. For grassland-based ruminant production, reducing stocking rate from current unsustainable levels under subsistence management is an essential first step to producing more production and profit from fewer animals. This is made possible in commercial farming by using a combination of new technology, decision-making skills and market development. For example, only after stocking rate is sustainably aligned with forage supply and herd structure is changed to comprise mainly breeding females’ can smallholders reliably use genetics and improved breeding programs to boost profitability by producing higher take-off of products that meet market quality specification. To link effectively with the market smallholders must be confident they can produce the quality products consumers want. Examples from Sunan County, Gansu Province, China, are given of the use of bio-economic modelling base on smallholder available feed supply to identify the best enterprise and management options to produce marketable quality products. However, poorly developed product specifications, poor price transparency, alack of marketing services and inadequate infrastructure which still pose a major constraint to the transition from subsistence to commercial farming in developing countries requires remedial intervention. The highly integrated Australian sheep production and marketing system is briefly describes as an industry case study of how the combination of investment in R&D to develop new technologies such as Australian Sheep Breeding Values and breeding systems using terminal crosses are used to meet to continuing changing demands of domestic and overseas consumers. This case study provides principles and practices that can be applied to improved production efficiency and marketing in developing countries to facilitate the transition from subsistence to market-oriented ruminant production.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable use of grassland resources for forage production, biodiversity and environmental protection: Proceedings of 23rd International Grassland Congress
Subtitle of host publicationKeynote Lectures
Place of PublicationIndia
PublisherRangeland Management Society of India
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event23rd International Grassland Congress - New Delhi, India
Duration: 20 Nov 201524 Nov 2015 (Archived conference webpage) (Published proceedings)


Conference23rd International Grassland Congress
Abbreviated titleSustainable use of grassland resources for forage production, biodiversity and environmental protection
CityNew Delhi
Internet address

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