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Do genomic innovations enable an economic and environmental win-win in dairy production?

David Worden and Getu Hailu

Agricultural Systems, 2020, vol. 181, issue C

Abstract: Meeting global food demand and achieving environmental sustainability remain key challenges for the future, particularly given continued population growth, rising incomes, shifting dietary preferences, and global climate change. We examine the ex ante economic and environmental benefits of the adoption of genomic technologies to selectively breed dairy cattle for improved feed efficiency and reduced methane emissions. We use a farm-level representative dynamic multi-year enterprise budgeting stochastic simulation and optimization model to examine the effect of on-farm adoption. First, we find positive financial benefits to producers from a reduction in feed costs and environmental benefits to society from a reduction in methane emissions. Second, we find that the economic and environmental benefits depend on the predictive accuracy of genomic selection. Lower accuracies may lead to negative net financial returns, limiting widespread adoption of the technology. While these results are specific to a feed efficiency trait on a representative dairy farm in Ontario, Canada, they highlight potential benefits and challenges associated with selecting for novel traits using emerging biotechnologies.

Keywords: Genomics; Dairy economics; Technology adoption; Innovation; Feed efficiency; Food security; Productivity growth; Greenhouse gas emissions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2020.102807

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