Exploring the role of agricultural innovations in the Scottish beef sector: pathways towards more sustainable production

Can, E. (2020) Exploring the role of agricultural innovations in the Scottish beef sector: pathways towards more sustainable production. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

It is widely recognised that innovation is essential for the development of the agricultural sector. To address this challenge, this thesis has focused on how sustainable agricultural innovation may be delivered at farm-level in Scottish beef production systems. Fostering innovation requires an improved understanding of farmers’ innovative behaviour. Accordingly, farmers’ intentions towards farming in Scotland and their reliability were assessed. A segmentation behavioural model was developed and three classes of farmers were identified (n=213): Profit-seekers (42.1%), Satisfiers (35.7%) and Expansionists (22.1%). This model was subsequently linked to a farm-level economic model to estimate the effects of a set of innovations across the distribution of beef farms, under two alternative agricultural support policy scenarios.

The findings suggest that Profit-seekers with more labour, livestock and land in crops and grass; heavier dependence on subsidies and levels of borrowing; and performing better as measured by Net Farm Income and Management and Investment Income are more likely to adopt innovations. Results of the reliability analysis of farmers’ intentions showed that 58.4% of farmers overestimated their future production plans and economic factors have the strongest influence on these farmers’ behaviour. Furthermore, the outcomes of the modelling exercise indicate that all innovations considered could provide some benefit, especially when used in combination (£5.1k-£22.1k). The farm-level analysis showed the potential benefits of innovation; however, when direct support was removed the heavy reliance of farms on subsidies was revealed, with 54.8% of farms becoming loss making under the baseline scenario. While this study has made best use of Farm Business Survey data, it has only captured part of the overall farm innovation activity. The collection of complementary data on the actual level of innovations adopted in Scottish beef systems would enable a better assessment of the degree of farm ‘innovativeness’, an interesting area for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Ramsden, S.
Wilson, P.
Shrestha, S.
Barnes, A.P.
Keywords: Beef production; Innovation; Scotland; Cattle farming
Subjects: S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Biosciences
Item ID: 59830
Depositing User: Can, Edna
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2020 04:40
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2020 04:40
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/59830

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