Labor Use and Profitability Associated with Pasture Systems in Grass-Fed Beef Production

  •  Basu Bhandari    
  •  Jeffrey Gillespie    
  •  Guillermo Scaglia    


Three pasture systems for grass-fed beef that are representative of those used in the U.S. Gulf Coast region are compared by labor use and profitability. In addition to means comparisons, stochastic efficiency with respect to a function analysis allows us to incorporate the role of risk preference in determining the most preferred production system. Five years of experimental data from the Iberia Research Station in Louisiana are used to develop revenue, expense, and labor use estimates for the three systems. Results suggest that, with or without including charges for labor, the most profitable system is the least complex bermudagrass-ryegrass system. If labor is included, a medium-complexity forage system becomes preferred for more risk averse farmers. The most complex forage system might become competitive if a carbon market were developed and/or farmers were able to realize higher grass-fed beef prices on the basis of product quality.

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