Ola Flaten

Research Scientist

(+47) 941 79 046
ola.flaten@nibio.no

Place
Oslo

Visiting address
Storgata 2-4-6, 0155 Oslo

Abstract

The objective of this paper was to examine how cutting frequency, silage fermentation patterns and clover performance in grass-clover swards influence the use of inputs and profitability in an organic dairy system. A linear programming model was developed to compare a three-cut and a two-cut system for a model farm in Central Norway, either with restricted or extensive silage fermentation at low or high red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) proportion in the sward, giving 8 different silage types in all. Input-output relations incorporated into the model were derived from a meta-analysis of organic grassland field trials in Norway as well as a silage fermentation experiment, and with feed intakes and milk yields from simulations with the ‘TINE Optifôr’ feed ration planner in the Norfor feed evaluation system. The model maximized total gross margin of farms with 260,000 l milk quota and housing capacity for 45 cows, with separate model versions for each of the 8 silage types. Farmland availability varied from 30 to 70 ha with 40 ha as the basis. Our results suggested that farmland availability and marginal return of a competing barley crop profoundly influenced the profitability of the different silage types. A high clover proportion increased dry matter (DM) yields and was far more important for profitability than the score on the other factors considered at restricted land availabilities. Profits with the three-cut systems were always greater than those with the two-cut systems, the former being associated with greater silage intakes and improved dairy cow performances but lower DM forage yields. Three-cut systems were further favoured as land availability increased and also by a lower marginal return of barley. Although use of an acidifying silage additive improved feed intakes and milk production per cow, the practice reduced total milk production and depressed profit compared to untreated, extensively fermented silage at restrictive land availabilities. With more land available, and in particular at a low marginal return of barley, use of a silage additive was profitable.

Abstract

This study examines the relationships between profitability, nitrogen (N) surplus, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and energy intensity and factors influencing these relationships in dairy farming. In-depth data from 10 conventional and 8 organic dairy farms in Western Norway were analyzed. Organic farms had lower N surplus per hectare (local, onfarm) and per unit output (global, cradle-to-farm-gate), and lower estimated GHG emissions and energy intensity per unit output, whereas labor input and farm profits did not differ. Higher profitability tended to be associated with improved performance of the environmental indicators examined. Intensification through increased use of concentrates tended to improve profit and reduce N surplus, GHG emissions, and energy intensity per unit output within each farming system while N surplus per hectare could be negatively affected. To ensure a balanced representation of the environmental consequences of both organic and conventional farming systems,our results give support to extensive examination of both area and product-based environmental performance indicators.

Abstract

In this paper, we examine citizen and consumer attitudes towards, and preferences for, private and public goods from organic agriculture in Norway. The study is based on a survey among 939 Norwegians. The results show that in the role as citizens, the respondents hold a moderate belief in the superiority of organic farming concerning the production of public goods, but they give relatively low priority to prompting organic farming compared to other agricultural policy goals. In the role as consumers (choice experiment), the respondents were willing to pay for several attributes of organic food. Only 6% of the respondents buy organic food as often as they can. The most important reasons for buying organic food are health and environmental concerns, while animal welfare has little importance. Lack of perceived superiority regarding health benefits, taste, safety and environment are important reasons for not consuming (more) organic food among those who rarely or never buy organic food.

Abstract

Western livestock sectors have shifted towards fewer, larger farms, causing concerns about the appearance of the countryside, ecosystem services, and rural depopulation. This study empirically estimates factors likely to affect exit intentions in sheep farms. Data were collected from specialised sheep farms included in the Norwegian Farm Business Survey. Of the 59 responses, 44 operators believed the farm would be producing sheep in 10 years. A logistic regression model was used to determine the most decisive variables associated with an exit intention, where the interdependence of factors affecting profitability and, subsequently, exit intention were taken into account. This study found that farmers reporting the most positive views of the local farming community were less likely to plan an exit. Exit intentions were not significantly influenced by farming goals, location, off-farm income, or profitability. The primacy of non-economic, community-based factors as an engine to sustain farms, suggests that more attention need to be paid to social processes and relations in local communities. Farmer groups and policy-makers should consider how to encourage supportive local communities when designing policies to retain sheep farms.

Abstract

The effects of cutting frequency, silage fermentation pattern and legume performance in grass-clover ley on use of inputs and profitability in an organic dairy system in Mid-Norway were examined. A whole-farm linear programming model was developed to compare a three-cut and a two-cut system, either with restricted silage fermentation through acidification or untreated at low or high red clover (Trifolium pratense L) proportion in the ley. Input-output relations incorporated into the model were derived from a meta-analysis of organic grassland field trials in Norway, silage fermentation experiments, and with feed intakes and milk yields from simulations with the NorFor feed evaluation system. The model maximised total gross margin of farms with 250,000 l milk quota, and housing capacity for 45 cows. Farmland availability was allowed to vary with 40 ha as the basis. High proportion of legumes in the leys was far more important for profitability than the score on the other variables considered. With little land available, the costs of preservatives were higher than their benefits. At higher land areas applying preservatives was more profitable. Cutting systems producing silages that result in an increased intake of silage per cow, generally three-cut systems, performed relatively better at higher land availabilities.

Abstract

The effects of cutting frequency, silage fermentation pattern and legume performance in grass-clover ley on use of inputs and profitability in an organic dairy system in Mid-Norway were examined. A whole-farm linear programming model was developed to compare a three-cut and a two-cut system, either with restricted silage fermentation through acidification or untreated at low or high red clover (Trifolium pratense L) proportion in the ley. Input-output relations incorporated into the model were derived from a meta-analysis of organic grassland field trials in Norway, silage fermentation experiments, and with feed intakes and milk yields from simulations with the NorFor feed evaluation system. The model maximised total gross margin of farms with 250,000 l milk quota, and housing capacity for 45 cows. Farmland availability was allowed to vary with 40 ha as the basis. High proportion of legumes in the leys was far more important for profitability than the score on the other variables considered. With little land available, the costs of preservatives were higher than their benefits. At higher land areas applying preservatives was more profitable. Cutting systems producing silages that result in an increased intake of silage per cow, generally three-cut systems, performed relatively better at higher land availabilities.

Abstract

In Europe there is an on-going process on implementing regulations aimed at reducing pollution from agricultural production systems, i.e. the Water Framework Directive and the Framework Directive for Sustainable Use of Pesticides. At the same time, there is an increasing focus on food security possibly leading to continued intensification of agricultural production with increased use of external inputs, such as pesticides and fertilizers. Application of sustainable production systems can only be achieved if they balance conflicting environmental and economic effects. In Norway, cereal production is of large importance for food security and reduction of soil and phosphorus losses, as well as pesticide use and leaching/runoff in the cereal production are of special concern. Therefore, we need to determine the most sustainable and effective strategies to reduce loss of top soil, phosphorus and pesticides while maintaining cereal yields. A three-year research project, STRAPP, is addressing these concerns. A catchment area dominated by cereal production is our common research arena within STRAPP. Since 1992 a database (JOVA) with data for soil erosion, nutrient and pesticide leaching/runoff (i.e. concentrations in stream water), yield, and agricultural management practices (fertilization, use of pesticides, soil tillage and rotations) has been established for this catchment allowing us to compare a unique diversity in cropping strategies in a defined location. An important part of STRAPP focuses on developing ‘best plant protection strategies’ for cereal fields in the study area, based on field inventories (manual and sensor based) of weeds and common diseases, available forecast systems, and pesticide leaching risk maps. The results of field studies during the growing seasons of 2013 and 2014 will be presented, with a focus on possible integrated pest management (IPM) strategies for weeds and fungal diseases in cereal production. We will also present the project concept and methods for coupling optimized plant protection strategies to (i) modelling of phosphorus and pesticide leaching/runoff, as well as soil loss, and (ii) farm-economic impacts and adaptations. Further, methods for balancing the conflicting environmental and economic effects of the above practices, and the evaluation of instruments for increased adoption of desirable management practices will be outlined.

To document

Abstract

Quota regulations that prevent output expansion of farms and reallocation of output between farms can cause lower growth in output and productivity. The aim of this study was to explain the output growth rate of Norwegian dairy farms since 1976, and to decompose it into output, input, socioeconomic and technical change components. Instead of using the standard distance function approach for multi-output technologies, we use a growth rate formulation, which automatically removes the farm-specific effects. This formulation also helps to impose non-negativity constraints on marginal products of inputs (input elasticities), which are often violated for many observations, especially when flexible functional forms are used. The farm-level panel data cover three periods: before the quota scheme was introduced (1976-1982); the period with the most output-restricting quota scheme (1983-1996); and the period with a more flexible quota scheme (from 1997 onwards). Results show that the milk quota regulations had a significant constraining effect on output growth, in particular on milk output in the period 1983-1996. Furthermore, the output mix has shifted towards meat production for the average farm. What emerges from this study is that output growth and technical change are negatively influenced by policy aims where productive performance has not been the primary objective, and that there is scope for increased farm growth if the quota regime is liberalised.

Abstract

In recent years the objectives of agricultural policy have shifted from a principal focus on production and income towards agriculture\"s provision of public goods summarized by the term ‘multifunctionality\". Agricultural sector models, which are important tools for policy advice, need to be adjusted in order to maintain their relevance and reliability in accordance with policy changes. This paper investigates the strengths and limitations of incorporating multifunctionality indicators in the agricultural sector model Common Agricultural Policy Regional Impact Analysis (CAPRI) by reviewing the existing literature and incorporating such indicators in the model. Multifunctionality indicators are developed and implemented for four selected aspects of multifunctionality: food security, landscape, environmental concerns and rural viability. By running different policy reform scenarios, it is shown that indicators closely related to the underlying economic variables of the sector model may provide useful to describe the effects of policy reforms on agriculture\"s multifunctionality. However, these indicators do not completely cover the selected aspects of multifunctionality. In order to yield a broader coverage, this paper proposes to strengthen interdisciplinary research by linking agricultural sector models with other model systems like farm-based economical-ecological models, regional economic models or landscape information systems.

Abstract

Målet med denne studien var å jamføre risikoen for økologiske, integrerte og convensjonelle dyrkingssystem. Forsøksdata frå eit dyrkingssystem (1991-1999) på Austlandet vart brukte saman med budsjettal frå gardsbruk. Empirisk fordeling av nettoinntekt for ulike dyrkingssystem vart estimert ved hjelp av ein simuleringsmodell. Resultata syner at det økologiske systemet hadde størst variasjon i nettoinntekt, men med gjeldane tilskotsordningar og meirprisar for økologiske varer vert dette det mest økonomiske alternativet.

Abstract

Conventional farmers converting to organics have contributed to most of the rapid expansion of organic farming in recent years. The new organic farmers may differ from their more established colleagues, which may have implications for the development of the organic farming sector and its distinctiveness vis-a-vis conventional production and marketing practices. The aim of this study was to explore Norwegian organic dairy farmers' personal and farm production characteristics, farming goals, conversion motives, and attitudes to organic farming, grouped by year of conversion (three groups). A postal survey was undertaken among organic dairy farmers (n=161). The results show that the newcomers (converted in 2000 or later) were less educated than the early entrants (the so-called 'old guard') who converted in 1995 or earlier. The frequency of activities like vegetable growing and poultry farming among the old guard was high. The late-entry organic herds were fed with more concentrates and had a higher milk production intensity, showed a higher incidence of veterinary treatments and less frequent use of alternative medicine than the herds of the two earlier converting groups. For all groups of farmers, the highest ranked farming goals were sustainable and environment-friendly farming and the production of high-quality food. Late entrants more often mentioned goals related to profit and leisure time. On average, the most frequently mentioned motives for conversion were food quality and professional challenges. The old guard was more strongly motivated by food quality and soil fertility/pollution issues than the others, whereas financial reasons (organic payments included) were relatively more important among the newcomers. All groups held very favorable views about the environmental qualities of organic farming methods, albeit with different strengths of beliefs. Even though trends towards more pragmatic and business-oriented farming were found, the majority of the newcomers were fairly committed.

To document

Abstract

This study was conducted to explore organic and conventional dairy farmers' perceptions of risk and risk management, and to examine relationships between farm and farmer characteristics, risk perceptions, and strategies. The data originate from a survey of conventional (n=363) and organic (n=162) dairy farmers in Norway. Organic farmers had the least risk averse perceptions. Institutional and production risks were perceived as primary sources of risk, with farm support payments at the top. Compared to their conventional colleagues, organic farmers gave more weight to institutional factors related to their production systems. Conventional farmers were more concerned about costs of purchased inputs and animal welfare policy. Organic and conventional farmers' management responses were more similar than their risk perceptions. Financial measures such as liquidity and costs of production, disease prevention, and insurance were perceived as important ways to handle risk. Even though perceptions were highly farmer-specific, a number of socio-economic variables were found to be related to risk and risk management. The primary role of institutional risks implies that policy makers should be cautious about changing policy capriciously and they should consider the scope for strategic policy initiatives that give farmers some greater confidence about the longer term. Further, researchers should pay more attention to institutional risks. (c) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Abstract

About 22 % of the conventional dairy and cash crop farmers in Norway were considering or were planning to convert to organic farming during the next four years. For these farmers, here called potential converters, higher soil fertility, professional challenges, profitability, and organic farming payments were important motives for considering to convert.

Abstract

About 22 % of the conventional dairy and cash crop farmers in Norway were considering or were planning to convert to organic farming during the next four years. For these farmers, here called potential converters, higher soil fertility, professional challenges, profitability, and organic farming payments were important motives for considering to convert.

Abstract

The level of support to Norwegian agriculture is partly justified with reference to agriculture’s multifunctionality. The concept of multifunctionality involves the provision of so-called “public goods» by agriculture, in addition to the production of food and fibre. Examples of these public goods include cultural landscape, biodiversity, ecological functions, cultural heritage, the viability of rural areas, and food security. The overall aim of the research project “Operationalization of multifunctionality using the CAPRI modeling system» is to study the effects of policy instruments on agriculture’s multifunctionality by defining quantitative indicators for selected elements of agriculture’s multifunctionality that can be implemented in the agricultural sector model CAPRI. This working paper takes a first step towards the appropriate regionalization when multifunctionality is concerned. The current regionalization of the CAPRI model is at the county level. This approach fails when multifunctionality is concerned, because many issues of multifunctionaliy (e.g., cultural landscape aspects) are independent of administrative borders at that level. As the aim of the overall project is to study the effects of policy instruments on agriculture’s multifunctionality, it is important to design regions within the CAPRI model that to a greater extent exhibit similar characteristics with respect to aspects of agriculture’s multifunctionality. Accordingly, it is reasonable to assume that policy changes will have quite similar effects on the multifunctionality indicators within each of these CAPRI regions. This task has been addressed by performing a cluster analysis by which Norwegian municipalities have been grouped with respect to their performance on variables that are expected to describe different aspects of the multifunctionality of agriculture. This information will then later on be used to regionalize the CAPRI model accordingly. […]

To document

Abstract

This study was conducted to explore organic and conventional dairy farmers perceptions of risk and risk management, and to examine relationships between farm and farmer characteristics, risk perceptions, and strategies. The data originate from a survey of conventional (n = 363) and organic (n = 162) dairy farmers in Norway. Organic farmers had the least risk averse perceptions. Institutional and production risks were perceived as primary sources of risk, with farm support payments at the top. Compared to their conventional colleagues, organic farmers gave more weight to institutional factors related to their production systems. Conventional farmers were more concerned about costs of purchased inputs and animal welfare policy. Organic and conventional farmers management responses were more similar than their risk perceptions. Financial measures such as liquidity and costs of production, disease prevention, and insurance were perceived as important ways to handle risk. Even though perceptions were highly farmer-specific, a number of socio-economic variables were found to be related to risk and risk management. The primary role of institutional risks implies that policy makers should be cautious about changing policy capriciously and they should consider the scope for strategic policy initiatives that give farmers some greater confidence about the longer term. Further, researchers should pay more attention to institutional risks.

To document

Abstract

This study presents empirical insight into organic and conventional cash crop farmers' perceptions of risk and risk management strategies, and identifies socio-economic variables linked to these perceptions. The data originate from a questionnaire survey of farmers in Norway. The results indicate that organic farmers perceived themselves to be less risk aversethan conventional farmers. For both groups, crop prices and yield variability were the two top rated sources of risk, followed by institutional risks. The two groups evaluated risk management strategies quite similarly; favoured strategies weregood liquidity and to prevent and reduce crop diseases and pests. The farmers' evaluation of sources of risk and choice of risk strategies depended onvarious socio-economic variables. The importance of institutional risks implies that policy makers should be cautious about changing policy capriciously and they should consider strategic policy initiatives that give farmers more long-term reliability.

Abstract

The objective of this study was to provide empirical insight into dairy farmers goals, relative risk attitude, sources of risk and risk management responses. The study also examines whether organic dairy farming, leads to important risk sources not experienced in conventional farming and, if so, howthose extra risks are managed. The data originate from a questionnaire survey of conventional (n=373) and organic (n = 162) dairy farmers in Norway. The results show that organic farmers have somewhat different goals than conventional farmers,and that the average organic farmer is less risk averse. Institutional risk was perceived as the most important source ofrisk, independently of conventional or organic production system. Keeping cash on hand wasthe most important strategy to manage risk for all dairy farmers.

Abstract

As more data have been amassed and interest in working with the ensuing data sets have grown, methods for organizing and examining the data have evolved. The need to work with these larger amounts of data has led to the development of ‘data mining’ methods and software. Data mining has a somewhat skewed reputation, and has often been characterised as ‘data dredging’ or ‘fishing expeditions’ . However, most of us must admit that such ‘expeditions’ or what one also could call hypothesis-generating approaches where we look for both likely and less likely associations, has occurred within our own research. In principal, generating promising associations is what data mining is all about. In this paper we have applied one of many commercial software available (Enterprise Miner, SAS) on a small dataset merged from a questionnaire data set and the national dairy cattle health and production records. We investigated for patterns separating organic dairy farmers from the conventional ones. The main framework of the data mining approach, some of the core modelling methods and the data mining results are briefly described and assessed.

Abstract

Norwegian dairy farmers are facing changes in the economic environment. Prices of products and concentrates are falling, while area and headage payments are increasing. The availability of grasslands has become more abundant. Impact of changes in economic conditions on production systems and profitability are examined. Linear programming models of dairy farms, with grain and beef as alternative enterprises, are designed to analyse the adjustments. Optimal production systems are largely determined by a combination of economic factors associated with the various inputs, outputs and support schemes together with availability of farm resources. The typical Norwegian dairy farm has a small quota compared to other farm resources. Producing a fixed milk quota with moderate yielding cows is then most profitable (1999-conditions). Early cut silage offered ad libitum is most profitable. Changes in the milk price have no effects on production as long as the quota is effective. If all of the land is utilised and grassland is the only possible land use, increased area payments have no production effects. If some grassland is not in use, area payments increase land utilisation as cows are fed less concentrate. If grain is also grown, increased grassland area payments result in more land allocated to grass. Forage and milk production become less intensive. By increasing headage payments, milk yield falls, as it is optimal to have more cows to produce the fixed quota output. This contributes to keep more grassland in production and in a more intensive forage production. Lower concentrate prices lead to increased use of concentrates and higher milk yields.

Abstract

The objective of this study was to provide empirical insight into dairy farmers’ goals, relative risk attitude, sources of risk and risk management responses. The study also examines whether organic dairy farming, leads to important risk sources not experienced in conventional farming and, if so, how those extra risks is managed. The data originate from a questionnaire survey of conventional (n=370) and organic (n = 160) dairy farmers in Norway. The results show that organic farmers have somewhat different goals than conventional farmers, and that the average organic farmer is less risk averse. Institutional risk was perceived as the most important source of risk, independently of conventional or organic production system, while organic farmers indicated greater concern about forage yield risk. Keeping cash on hand was the most important strategy to manage risk for all dairy farmers. Diversification and different kinds of flexibility was regarded as a more important risk management strategies among organic than conventional farmers.

Abstract

The Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture (1999) has announced its goal of converting 10% of the total agricultural area to organic farming methods by the year 2009. Considerations of profitability and risk will be especially important, when the conversion of a farm is planned. Studies of risk and risk management in organic farming have been lacking in Norway. Only very few such studies have been carried out internationally, thus showing that there is a definite need for more risk and risk management research in organic farming. The project aims to increase knowledge about risks and risk management in organic farming systems. It is a co-operation between NILF, NORSK, and NVH. Both biological and economic aspects of risk will be taken into consideration. We wish to test and apply acknowledged statistical and risk analysis theories and methods on issues related to organic farming. The project will deal with the extent of risk in organic farming, strategies used by organic farmers to handle risk and whole-farm models to analyse optimal economic solutions under uncertainty in organic farming. The project will cover farms that are still in conversion and completely converted farms. Results from the project will directly benefit farmers and farm advisers. Politicians and public administrators will receive access to significant information for the design of future policies.

Project image
Refined forage legumes as local sources of protein feed for monogastrics and high quality fibre feed for ruminants in organic production


Protein supplementation is a challenge in organic livestock production. Use of imported protein feeds on organically managed farms limits the recycling of nutrients. Fractionation of forage legumes, through novel harvesting and biorefining techniques, into protein- and fibre-rich feeds for monogastrics and ruminants, respectively, can increase farm self-sufficiency with feed. Economic, environmental and social sustainability needs to be taken into account when developing concepts for localised food systems.
Mathematical models will be developed for protein yields of lucerne and red clover. Leaf stripping and juice production will be studied in experiments located in different regions in Europe and Turkey and assessed for feed value in monogastrics and ruminants. Concepts of local food systems based on fractionation of lucerne and red clover will be assessed for sustainability. A participatory approach will be used to involve stakeholder groups in the project, and to ensure an effective dissemination of the results. Farmers will be interviewed to study attitudes towards self-sufficiency and barriers for cooperation that may be required in implementing localised food systems.
The proposed project will establish important knowledge about how to improve self-sufficiency in organic livestock production. Farmers and feed industry will learn how to produce local feed for both monogastrics and ruminants by fractionating forage legumes. An assessment of economic, environmental and social aspects can be used to adapt sustainable local food systems in different regions.
Through this new knowledge, the organic agricultural sector will be able to reduce the amount of imported feeds in Europe by increased utilisation of regional biological resources. This complies also with the social demand from consumers requesting 100% of the feeds to be derived from the farm or region (EC, 2013), and the Bioeconomy Strategy of the European Commission (EC, 2015).

Active Updated: 30.09.2018
End: mar 2021
Start: apr 2018