Economic assessment of wheat breeding options for potential improved levels of post head-emergence frost tolerance

Mushtaq, Shahbaz and An-Vo, Duc-Anh and Christopher, Mandy and Zheng, Bangyou and Chenu, Karine and Chapman, Scott C. and Christopher, Jack T. and Stone, Roger C. and Frederiks, Troy M. and Alam, G. M. Monirul (2017) Economic assessment of wheat breeding options for potential improved levels of post head-emergence frost tolerance. Field Crops Research, 213. pp. 75-88. ISSN 0378-4290

Abstract

Frost, during reproductive developmental stages, especially post head emergence frost (PHEF), can result in catastrophic yield loss for wheat producers. Breeding for improved PHEF tolerance may allow greater yield to be achieved, by (i) reducing direct frost damage and (ii) facilitating earlier crop sowing to reduce the risk of late-season drought and/or heat stress. This paper provides an economic feasibility analysis of breeding options for PHEF tolerant wheat varieties. It compares the economic benefit to growers with the cost of a wheat breeding program aimed at developing PHEF tolerant varieties. The APSIM wheat model, with a frost-impact and a phenology gene-based module, was employed to simulate direct and indirect yield benefits for various levels of improved frost tolerance. The economic model considers optimal profit, based on sowing date and nitrogen use, rather than achieving maximum yield. The total estimated fixed cost of breeding program was AUD 1293 million, including large scale seed production to meet seed demand, with AUD 1.2 million year−1 to run breeding program after advanced development and large scale field experiments. The results reveal that PHEF tolerant varieties would lead to a significant increase in economic benefits through reduction in direct damage and an increase in yield through early sowing. The economic benefits to growers of up to AUD 4841 million could be realised from growing PHEF tolerant lines if useful genetic variation can be found. Sensitivity analyses indicated that the benefits are particularly sensitive to increases in fixed costs, seed replacement, discount rate, and to delays in variety release. However, the investment still remains viable for most tested scenarios. Based on comparative economic benefits, if breeders were able to develop PHEF tolerant varieties that could withstand cold temperatures −4 °C below the current damage threshold, there is very little further economic value of breeding total frost tolerant varieties.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Accepted version embargoed until 1 Oct 2018 (12 months), in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2017 05:58
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2017 23:35
Uncontrolled Keywords: economic assessment; benefit cost analysis; frost; crop modelling; wheat; APSIM; Australia
Fields of Research : 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140201 Agricultural Economics
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070305 Crop and Pasture Improvement (Selection and Breeding)
01 Mathematical Sciences > 0103 Numerical and Computational Mathematics > 010303 Optimisation
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 82 Plant Production and Plant Primary Products > 8205 Winter Grains and Oilseeds > 820507 Wheat
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.fcr.2017.07.021
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/33089

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