To be sustainable, farm enterprises must pass two tests of sustainability. They must be environmentally and economically sustainable.
Environmental sustainability is a long term view for future generations. It focuses on the soil, water and vegetation. It requires an examination of soil structure, soil fertility. soil biology, salinity, acidity and what is happening to these soil dimensions over time. It looks at water and rangelands and their ability to continue to support livestock indefinitely.
Having satisfied the tests of environmental sustainability, producers must consider what is the most profitable enterprise mix? This requires re-examination every year because of changing markets, technology, cost of inputs and other factors that determine profit. Managers must be able to work it out and do the calculations.
If the enterprises pass both tests, grazing and farming will be viable. The environmental tests consider viability for future generations. The economic tests must be re-applied every year as nobody can guarantee costs, prices or technology for the long term.
Sustainable Farm Enterprises, 1st Edition
1. Fundamental resources of climate and soil, water and vegetation and how they influence enterprise selection.2. The importance of right rotations for crop producers and livestock cropping systems.3. Establishing a benchmark of what is achievable for a given rainfall for crops and livestock.4. The way one enterprise affects other enterprises on the farm and how to make use of complementary and supplementary benefits.5. Reconciles the arguments of environmental scientists, who take the long term view of sustainability, with the economic arguments of business survival for the next year.6. Why it is necessary to address both the environmental and economic imperatives.7. How to calculate the most profitable enterprise mix each year as costs, prices and technology change.8. Strategies for handling risk, especially price and seasonal risks for different enterprises.9. New enterprises and how to test their feasibility.10. Whatever enterprise you choose, being good at it can make more difference than the type of enterprise chosen.
11. Presents a process for developing a maximum profit plan.12. How to set targets or benchmarks for each enterprise and to monitor physical and financial performance of each enterprise.