Quantifying the economic value of evidence-based animal selection on the inner Mongolian desert steppe

Taro Takahashi, Zhiguo Li, Zhongwu Wang, Guodong Han, Karl Behrendt, David Kemp

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstract


Inner Mongolian desert steppe in northwestern China suffers from significant grassland degradation, causing a decrease in producers' income as well as negative off-site impacts (Kemp et al., 2013). Recent studies attribute this problem to a sudden increase in the stocking rate over the last half century, and thus development of an alternative farming system to reduce the animal number is urgently needed (Wang et al., 2011). Scientific experiments and modelling analyses have shown the potential of innovative systems that could deliver a "win-win" solution to local producers and environment (Li et al., 2015). However, the uptake of the proposed new technologies is generally slow because of the scepticism amongst producers, which is often augmented by the traditional herding culture whereby a large flock of animals is a symbol of social success (Kemp and Michalk, 2007).The objective of the present paper is to quantify the economic value of evidenced-based ewe selection, vis-à-vis random selection, the former of which could reduce the negative economic impact to producers due to the reduced stocking rate or, in some cases, even improve their long-term income (Kemp et al., 2011). A particular attention is paid to the carryover effect of an ewe's body condition at an early stage of pregnancy on her lamb's bodyweight at the annual sales time, a relationship relatively understudied in the preceding literature. Because lambs' bodyweight is the most closely linked to economic benefits enjoyed by local producers specializing in meat production, a positive result from this study would be valuable information to convince them to adopt an alternative farming strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event23rd International Grassland Congress - New Delhi, India
Duration: 20 Nov 201524 Nov 2015
https://web.archive.org/web/20151109200943/http://igc2015.org/ (Archived conference webpage)
https://www.internationalgrasslands.org/files/igc/publications/2015/plenary-lectures.pdf (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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