Integrated agronomic and economic analysis of fodder options for Tibetan farming systems

Tim Heath, Jin Tao, Colin Brown, Scott Waldron, John Wilkins, John Piltz, Jay Cummins, Carol Rose, David Coventry, Ann McNeill

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


Farming systems in Tibet that are based on spring barley and winter wheat have traditionally provided all the household and livestock requirements for grain. Increasing recognition over the last decade of the importance of forage in the system with strong support from government policy has encouraged Tibetan farmers to include forages in their farming systems, the aim being to improve livestock productivity whilst maintaining current cereal production for staple grain consumption. Recent research and on-farm demonstration trials in Tibet have evaluated agronomic forage options to fit into the current systems including double cropping and winter forage. Current best-bet options identified include: spring sown oats yielding 4.5t/ha dry matter; winter triticale yielding 5t/ha fodder followed by spring barley; and winter barley followed by vetch yielding 4.5t/ha. This paper describes an approach to integrate these agronomic outputs with other relevant information on human and animal requirements in a typical Tibetan household system in order to assess the overall effect of introducing new fodder options. Using a household model (CAEG Tibet) the effects on incomes are evaluated along with labour requirements, feed availability and other aspects important to the livelihoods of these impoverished Tibetan farm households. Results indicate that double cropping options offer potential increase in net returns up to 2.3 times that of traditional single crop systems. However the path to adoption of these agronomic options is not straightforward as decision making by these households is driven by a complex interaction of socio-economic and cultural factors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication16th AAC
Subtitle of host publicationCapturing opportunities and overcoming obstacles in Australian agronomy
EditorsI. Yunusa
Place of PublicationArmidale
PublisherThe Regional Institute
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event16th Australian Agronomy Conference - University of New England, Armidale, Australia
Duration: 14 Oct 201218 Oct 2012
Conference number: 16th (Conference proceedings 2012 homepage)


Conference16th Australian Agronomy Conference
Abbreviated titleCapturing Opportunities and Overcoming Obstacles in Australian Agronomy
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