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Use of Seasonal Climate Forecasts in Rangeland-Based Livestock Operations in West Texas

Kristi G. JochecElectric Division of the Office of Regulatory Affairs, Public Utility Commission of Texas, Austin, Texas

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James W. MjeldeDepartment of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

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Andrew C. LeeDepartment of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

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J. Richard ConnerDepartment of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

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Abstract

The potential for west Texas ranchers to increase the profitability of their enterprises by becoming more proactive in their management practices by using seasonal climate forecasts is investigated using a focus group and ecological–economic modeling. The focus group felt forecasts could potentially be used in making decisions concerning stocking rates, brush control, and deer herd management. Further, the focus group raised concerns about the potential misuse of “value-added” forage forecasts. These concerns necessitate a revisiting of the value-added concept by the climate-forecasting community. Using only stocking-rate decisions, the potential value of seasonal forage forecasts is estimated. As expected, the economic results suggest the value of the forecasts depends on the restocking and destocking price along with other economic factors. More important, the economic results and focus-group reactions to these results suggest the need for multiyear modeling when examining the potential impact of using improved climate forecasts.

* Current affiliation: Department of Agricultural Sciences, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas.

Corresponding author address: James W. Mjelde, Texas A&M University, Dept. of Agricultural Economics, Blocker Building, College Station, TX 77843. j-mjelde@tamu.edu

Abstract

The potential for west Texas ranchers to increase the profitability of their enterprises by becoming more proactive in their management practices by using seasonal climate forecasts is investigated using a focus group and ecological–economic modeling. The focus group felt forecasts could potentially be used in making decisions concerning stocking rates, brush control, and deer herd management. Further, the focus group raised concerns about the potential misuse of “value-added” forage forecasts. These concerns necessitate a revisiting of the value-added concept by the climate-forecasting community. Using only stocking-rate decisions, the potential value of seasonal forage forecasts is estimated. As expected, the economic results suggest the value of the forecasts depends on the restocking and destocking price along with other economic factors. More important, the economic results and focus-group reactions to these results suggest the need for multiyear modeling when examining the potential impact of using improved climate forecasts.

* Current affiliation: Department of Agricultural Sciences, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas.

Corresponding author address: James W. Mjelde, Texas A&M University, Dept. of Agricultural Economics, Blocker Building, College Station, TX 77843. j-mjelde@tamu.edu

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