A Within-Farm Efficiency Comparison of Silvopasture Systems with Conventional Pasture and Forestry in Northeast Argentina

Gregory E. Frey, Hugo E. Fassola, A. Nahuel Pachas, Luis Colcombet, Santiago M. Lacorte, Mitch Renkow, Oscar Pérez and Frederick W. Cubbage


Agroforestry, which has multiple inputs and outputs, would benefit from scrutiny of economic efficiency because levels of adoption have not met expectations. Previous literature estimated the efficiency of agricultural systems using data envelopment analysis; however, the vast variability between farms makes comparing systems difficult. This study uses paired, within-farm comparisons of silvopasture, a combination of planted trees and pasture, to conventional cattle-ranching and plantation forestry, to evaluate the relative technical efficiency. Silvopasture proves to be more efficient than conventional cattle-ranching. Forestry demonstrated increasing returns to scale, cattle-raising demonstrated decreasing returns to scale for large-scale farmers, and silvopasture was intermediate. (JEL D24, O13)

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