Economic values for evaluating pasture plant traits


  • D.F. Chapman
  • J.R. Bryant
  • W.H. Mcmillan
  • E.N. Khaembah



Economic values (EVs) are an estimate of the change in farm system profit per unit of change in a defined plant trait. Cultivars within species such as perennial ryegrass differ in the major production traits of dry matter yield, nutritive value and persistence, but the impact of those differences on farm financial performance is seldom calculated and reported. This paper explains what EVs are, describes how they can be calculated, and discusses some of the associated methodological issues. EVs have been derived for seasonal dry matter yield in New Zealand dairy systems. Extra feed produced in late spring has consistently low economic value, while extra feed produced in early spring has consistently high value. There have been no systematic investigations into the EVs of nutritive value and persistence in New Zealand pastures; this is a clear opportunity for future research. The lack of data on cultivar differences in these traits will restrict the application of EVs to pasture cultivar evaluation. This gap is now being addressed by new industry initiatives. Keywords: pasture cultivars, evaluation, traits, economic values, performance values







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