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J. Managing Climate Variability - Crops

Adoption of grain legumes: the importance of risk

Kingwell, R. Mr; Ph: (08) 9368 3225; Fax: (08) 9368 3751;

Pannell, D.J. Dr; Ph: (08) 9380 3409; Fax: (08) 9380 1098;

Abadi, A. Mr; Ph: (08) 9380 2538; Fax: (08) 9380 1098;

Schilizzi, S. Dr; Ph: (08) 9380 3410; Fax: (08) 9380 1098;

Research organisation: Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Western Australia, Nedlands WA 6009

Collaborators: Western Australian Department of Agriculture, CLIMA.

Sponsor: RIRDC, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation


To understand the importance of risk in farmers' decisions on whether or not to adopt new grain legumes.


1. Use surveys of farmers to understand and measure farmers' perceptions of riskiness of grain legumes;

2. Use economic models and models of farmer decision-making to understand how risk affects farmers' decisions to adopt grain legumes;

3. Use this information (in conjunction with other economic analyses) to assess grain legume species and varieties for release.

Progress: Final report presented (UWA-261). This study investigated the impact of price and yield uncertainty on the value of new legumes and their place in a Mediterranean region of Western Australia. It used the stochastic bioeconomic farming system model MUDAS (Model of an Uncertain Dryland Agricultural System) to integrate climatic, agronomic and economic information. A robust finding is that chick peas in rotation with wheat on some clayey-loam soil classes are a profitable addition to optimal farm plans, increasing the certainty equivalence of profit on a typical farm by 7 per cent. By contrast, modelling results for field peas and faba beans suggest they are likely to form a minor role in the farming system, being occasionally selected under certain price and weather-year conditions. Modelling results highlight a farmer’s attitude to risk and the proportion of the farm area with suitable soils as important determinants of the role and value of the new legumes in the farming system. These findings, if supported by further investigations, have important implications for breeding and agronomic research.

Period: starting date 1994-10; completion date 1997-09

Status: completed

Keywords: adoption, risk, legumes


Schilizzi, S.G.M. and Kingwell, R.S. (1998). The effect of weather-year and price uncertainty on the profitability of legume crops: preliminary investigations. Contributed paper to the 42nd Annual Conference of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, University of New England, Armidale, 19-21 January, 1998.

Schilizzi, S.G.M. and Kingwell, R.S. (in press). Effects of climatic and price uncertainty on the value of legume crops in a Mediterranean-type environment. Agricultural Systems.


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