Reconfiguring agriculture through the relocation of production systems for water, environment and food security under climate change

Mushtaq, S. and White, N. and Cockfield, G. and Power, B. and Jakeman, G. (2015) Reconfiguring agriculture through the relocation of production systems for water, environment and food security under climate change. The Journal of Agricultural Science, 153 (5). pp. 779-797. ISSN 0021-8596


The prospect of climate change has revived both fears of food insecurity and its corollary, market opportunities for
agricultural production. In Australia, with its long history of state-sponsored agricultural development, there is renewed interest in the agricultural development of tropical and sub-tropical northern regions. Climate projections suggest that there will be less water available to the main irrigation systems of the eastern central and
southern regions of Australia, while net rainfall could be sustained or even increase in the northern areas.
Hence, there could be more intensive use of northern agricultural areas, with the relocation of some production
of economically important commodities such as vegetables, rice and cotton. The problem is that the expansion of
cropping in northern Australia has been constrained by agronomic and economic considerations.
The present paper examines the economics, at both farm and regional level, of relocating some cotton production from the east-central irrigation areas to the north where there is an existing irrigation scheme together with some industry and individual interest in such relocation. Integrated modelling and expert knowledge are used to examine this example of prospective climate change adaptation. Farm-level simulations show that without adaptation, overall gross margins will decrease under a combination of climate change and reduction in water availability. A dynamic regional Computable General Equilibrium model is used to explore two scenarios of relocating cotton production from south east Queensland, to sugar-dominated areas in northern Queensland. Overall, an increase in real economic output and real income was realized when some cotton production was relocated to sugar cane fallow land/new land. There were, however, large negative effects on regional economies where cotton production displaced sugar cane. It is concluded that even excluding the agronomic uncertainties, which are not examined here, there is unlikely to be significant market-driven relocation of cotton production.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © Cambridge University Press 2014. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy. Published online 10 Nov 2014
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2015 04:43
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2017 05:37
Fields of Research (2008): 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140205 Environment and Resource Economics
04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040105 Climatology (excl.Climate Change Processes)
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070101 Agricultural Land Management
Fields of Research (2020): 38 ECONOMICS > 3801 Applied economics > 380105 Environment and resource economics
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370202 Climatology
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300202 Agricultural land management
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960705 Rural Land Policy
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960999 Land and Water Management of Environments not elsewhere classified
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