Modelling Steady State Irrigated Production


Source: WNO

An initial output of the BioSight project is the following paper by Richard Howitt, Duncan MacEwan, and Siwa Msangi.

Modeling Steady-State Irrigated Production

The practices that are typically associated with having increased the productivity of agriculture are crop selection, cultivation, irrigation, and rotation. In the past century, the first three practices have bloomed and developed beyond recognition, while the fourth aspect of rotation, traditionally used to maintain fertility and control diseases, has been reduced in importance by the substitution of energy, chemicals, and information. However, growing concern about the depletion of natural resources and environmental degradation from high input agriculture is leading to questions about the sustainability of the current system. This paper illustrates an innovative approach to evaluating the response of agricultural producers to environmental and policy changes, along various dimensions of farming behavior – namely, the intensive, extensive, and dynamic margins of response.  The paper aims to show the inherent trade-offs that might be faced by agricultural producers under various drivers of change, and which are central to their ability to adopt sustainable agricultural practices. The authors illustrate their approach with an empirical application involving two state variables – soil salinity levels and groundwater levels – and a two-crop rotation system – namely between alfalfa and cotton. They compare their methodology to other approaches, and make recommendations for future research advances.

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