Agricultural Systems Journal Impact Factor & Information

Journal description

Current impact factor: 2.91

Impact Factor Rankings

2015 Impact Factor Available summer 2016
2014 Impact Factor 2.906
2011 Impact Factor 2.899

Additional details

5-year impact 3.43
Cited half-life 8.20
Immediacy index 0.53
Eigenfactor 0.01
Article influence 1.04
ISSN 1873-2267

Publications in this journal

  • Agricultural Systems 11/2015; 140:74-86. DOI:10.1016/j.agsy.2015.09.001
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    ABSTRACT: Australia's northern beef industry is a significant contributor to regional economies in northern Australia, but is economically challenged by a range of factors including declining real beef prices, limited market opportunities, stalled productivity growth, increasing levels of enterprise debt, and low returns on investment. The long-term viability of the industry depends on achieving herd productivity gains and lifting enterprise profitability. Typical of the northern Australian beef industry, beef enterprises located in the Gulf of Carpentaria river drainage basins or catchments of north-west Queensland rely on extensive grazing of unimproved native pastures. Feed of reasonable quality is relatively plentiful during the annual wet season, but this is typically followed by feed shortages and sharply declining feed quality in the following dry season. Irrigation of some pasturage could potentially increase the availability and quality of dry-season feed and improve the productivity of these cattle enterprises. To explore this issue, an enterprise-scale bio-economic model was employed to consider several development scenarios involving investments in irrigation infrastructure for a case-study beef enterprise located in the Flinders River catchment in north-west Queensland. Our findings showed improvements in key productivity indicators, such as beef turnoff and enterprise profitability for some forage-based irrigation scenarios. However, the capital cost of installing and operating the infrastructure associated with the assumed scale of irrigation development had a significantly negative effect on returns. The findings suggest that investors will need to be judicious with capital expenditure and investment decisions informed by an understanding of the interplay between irrigation water storage size, expected reliability of filling, and the ability to meet seasonal crop water demand.
    Agricultural Systems 10/2015; 139:122-143. DOI:10.1016/j.agsy.2015.07.004
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    ABSTRACT: The financial health of beef cattle enterprises in northern Australia has declined markedly over the last decade due to an escalation in production and marketing costs and a real decline in beef prices. Historically, gains in animal productivity have offset the effect of declining terms of trade on farm incomes. This raises the question of whether future productivity improvements can remain a key path for lifting enterprise profitability sufficient to ensure that the industry remains economically viable over the longer term. The key objective of this study was to assess the production and financial implications for north Australian beef enterprises of a range of technology interventions (development scenarios), including genetic gain in cattle, nutrient supplementation, and alteration of the feed base through introduced pastures and forage crops, across a variety of natural environments. To achieve this objective a beef systems model was developed that is capable of simulating livestock production at the enterprise level, including reproduction, growth and mortality, based on energy and protein supply from natural C4 pastures that are subject to high inter-annual climate variability. Comparisons between simulation outputs and enterprise performance data in three case study regions suggested that the simulation model (the Northern Australia Beef Systems Analyser) can adequately represent the performance beef cattle enterprises in northern Australia. Testing of a range of development scenarios suggested that the application of individual technologies can substantially lift productivity and profitability, especially where the entire feedbase was altered through legume augmentation. The simultaneous implementation of multiple technologies that provide benefits to different aspects of animal productivity resulted in the greatest increases in cattle productivity and enterprise profitability, with projected weaning rates increasing by 25%, liveweight gain by 40% and net profit by 150% above current baseline levels, although gains of this magnitude might not necessarily be realised in practice. While there were slight increases in total methane output from these development scenarios, the methane emissions per kg of beef produced were reduced by 20% in scenarios with higher productivity gain. Combinations of technologies or innovative practices applied in a systematic and integrated fashion thus offer scope for providing the productivity and profitability gains necessary to maintain viable beef enterprises in northern Australia into the future.
    Agricultural Systems 10/2015; 139. DOI:10.1016/j.agsy.2015.06.001
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    ABSTRACT: Dairy farms that grow more perennial vegetation as grazing pastures or conserved forages can offer many environmental benefits but may show reduced milk production relative to farms feeding higher amounts of grain and corn silage. Because yields of annual and perennial crops vary with soil type, an accurate comparison of the productive potential of these systems over county or regional scales may require taking into account spatial variation in soil quality. In this study, we present a novel approach to calculate the production from dairy systems that adjusts average crop yields to the productive potential of local soils using the National Commodity Crop Productivity Index (NCCPI). We used on-farm survey data to define confinement and grazing systems with varying amounts of perennial forage and applied our method to a sample of five counties in the northeast United States. High corn silage farm systems produced 21 to 168% more milk per hectare of farmland than grazing-based farm systems, but variation among counties was greater than variation among systems, with the best (Lancaster, PA) producing as much as 5.3 times more than the least (Orange, VT). Adjusting yields for soil productivity had smaller effects on milk production than differences in farm system or county. On average, grazing farm systems generally produced slightly more milk when yields were adjusted using the NCCPI (8%) while high corn silage systems showed a moderate decrease (13%). Compared to scenarios of all local crop production, scenarios with unlimited corn and soybean imports often more than doubled county-scale milk production. Restricting grain imports to prevent excess phosphorus resulted in a 3–15% decrease in milk production relative to unlimited imports, but still produced far more milk than in the all local production scenarios. Sensitivity analysis of the model showed that milk production in each county was very responsive to changes in perennial forage yields (especially for grazing systems), responsive to changes in average daily milk production per cow, and generally not responsive to changes in the productive lifetime of lactating cows. This study demonstrates a persistent tradeoff between perenniality and production in dairy systems, but suggests that opportunities may exist to maintain current milk production levels in the Northeast while also expanding land cover in perennial vegetation.
    Agricultural Systems 10/2015; 139. DOI:10.1016/j.agsy.2015.06.004
  • Agricultural Systems 10/2015; 139:260-270. DOI:10.1016/j.agsy.2015.07.007
  • Agricultural Systems 10/2015; 139:238-249. DOI:10.1016/j.agsy.2015.08.001
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    ABSTRACT: Despite large efforts there are still methodological challenges to bring life cycle modeling closer to agricultural reality. Here, we focus on the inclusion of the effects occurring between the crops grown in the same agricultural field in temporal succession. These so called crop-rotation effects are caused by changes in physical, chemical and biological properties of the agricultural land over time (presence and availability of different micro and macronutrients, soil structure, soil texture, phytosanitary conditions, presence of weeds, etc.) due to the rotation of crops. Since a huge number of parameters contribute to crop-rotation effects, they cannot be easily measured. Therefore, LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) studies with system boundaries containing only one vegetation period have a limited ability to include these effects — unless explicit modeling measures have been taken to include individual crop-rotation effects. Existing approaches for the inclusion of crop-rotation effects are described, e.g. via transferring certain amounts of nutrients and their environmental burdens to subsequent crops. Still, many crop-rotation effects between crops are not covered in recent LCA methodology; corresponding gaps are identified and described. Examples include reduced input of agrochemicals via improved phytosanitary conditions, stabilization of yields via reduction of harvest failures, improved yields via improved soil texture, soil structure and improved conditions for soil organisms. Overall, most crop-rotation effects are not properly addressed in current LCA practice. Thus, LCA results and the quality of derived recommendations are negatively affected — for example incentives for the (unlimited) removal of crop residues are set based on LCA results without considering potential adverse effects on soil fertility. In other words, these gaps might lead to unintended free-rider problems. A new approach for the modeling of crop-rotation effects is suggested. It consists of six steps. First, align the system boundary during the inventory analysis to the level of the whole crop rotation system; second, determine all inputs of the whole crop rotation; third, do the same for the outputs; fourth, convert all outputs to a common agriculture-specific denominator, the so-called Cereal Unit; fifth, calculate an output-specific allocation share using the ratio of each individual output to the sum of all outputs of the crop rotation; and sixth, apply the allocation shares to the sum of each input-type — resulting in the output-specific allocated input. One major advantage of this approach is the integration of crop-rotation systems into LCA, including all relationships between the individual crops of the crop rotation. Using this approach, LCA practice becomes able to depict crop rotations more accurately and to avoid the current practice of ignoring the effects between individual crops. It might enable LCA to consider the fundamental agricultural principle of crop rotations and to include interactions between one crop and the subsequent crop. Since these crop-rotation effects influence soil fertility, yields and overall sustainability of agricultural systems, the reliability of the evaluation of environmental impacts might be affected. Thus, the ability to consider the entire spectrum of crop rotation effects should be integrated into agricultural LCAs.
    Agricultural Systems 09/2015; 138. DOI:10.1016/j.agsy.2015.05.008
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    ABSTRACT: We present a tactical level planning tool to address the issue of coordinating production of perishable specialty crops under decentralized control and incomplete information. The objective of this research is to address an emerging problem seen in the business model of agricultural cooperatives. These vertically expanded farmer associations market their products jointly. However, within the cooperatives farmers remain competitors seeking their own best interest, simultaneously seeking contracts for the most profitable crops in the most desirable part of the season; this behavior can work to the detriment of the group. The model developed considers the problem of asymmetric information and internal competition within the cooperative, as well as traditional factors relevant to agricultural planning. Thereafter, an auction based coordination mechanism is formulated, which leads production decisions toward a coordinated outcome despite each individual acting independently and on his/her best interest. The mechanism is shown to approximate optimal production targets through focused information discovery and a well-structured contract allocation methodology. The results presented show the viability of implementing such planning scheme in practice as well as the optimality gap under a variety of settings.
    Agricultural Systems 09/2015; 138. DOI:10.1016/j.agsy.2015.04.008
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    ABSTRACT: Livestock manure management regulations are transitioning from being nitrogen-based to phosphorus (P2O5)-based in many countries, including regions of the United States and Canada, due to environmental concerns about phosphorus loadings. For example, in the province of Manitoba (Canada) concerns about phosphorus loadings in Lake Winnipeg and other water bodies led to the introduction of phosphorus-based nutrient management regulations. This paper develops a method to analyze the economics of changing systems of manure management to comply with the transition from nitrogen-based to phosphorus-based regulations. The method employs GIS mapping to determine the minimum short-run and medium-run costs of compliance at levels of the individual livestock operation, which can be aggregated up to the levels of rural municipality or county, watershed, and the province or state. The method is applied in a case study for pig producers from the province of Manitoba. The results of the case study estimate the added annual short-run cost to the Manitoba pig industry under a maximum threshold regulation of twice phosphorus removal to be CAD 17.88 million and the estimated added annual cost to the industry under a maximum threshold regulation of once phosphorus removal to be CAD 27.86 million. The costs work out to be $40.57 and $63.22 per animal unit and represented 18% and 28% of the estimated annual net income accruing to pig producers in the Province, respectively. The estimated added annual medium-run cost to pig producers in the Province under a maximum threshold regulation of twice phosphorus removal work out to between CAD 25.48 and 27.46 million. Due to the sheer size of the compliance costs, results should be of interest to livestock producers, their industry organizations, the greater livestock industry, policy makers, and politicians, as well as environmental economists.
    Agricultural Systems 09/2015; 138. DOI:10.1016/j.agsy.2015.04.002