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'One size fits all'? Ð The relationship between the value of genetic traits and the farm system

Mark Neal () and Bill Fulkerson
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Bill Fulkerson: University of Queensland

No WP1M06, Murray-Darling Program Working Papers from Risk and Sustainable Management Group, University of Queensland

Abstract: The wide use of artificial insemination by dairy farmers has facilitated the development of a multi-billion dollar international market in animal genetics. In the major western dairy producing nations, each country has developed a single index to rank bulls, based on the value of traits they are expected to pass on to their offspring. One of the assumptions behind these indexes is that there is a positive linear relationship between profit (and welfare) with increases in a particular trait, regardless of the farm system. In this paper, it is shown, with examples, that the assumption of linearity is false. More importantly, it is shown that for a combination of reasons, including risk aversion, constraints and other issues, the optimal direction of genetic improvement for New Zealand dairy farmers on an individual and industry level could be quite different. Alternatives to the Òone size fits allÓ index are described.

JEL-codes: D81 O32 Q16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2006-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr
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