Economics of predation on range operations
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
June 24, 2010
Three University of Wyoming professors affiliated with the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics just had a new paper published by the Society for Range Management.
The paper, "Ranch-level economic impacts of predation in a range livestock system," examines the three primary mechanisms predators reduce ranch profitability, and uses a mathematical ranch model of a cow-calf operation in western Wyoming to simulate effects of these three predation mechanisms on ranch profitability.
According to the paper: "The result that increasing variable costs have less of an effect on proﬁtability than death losses or reduced weaning weights suggests that individual efforts to reduce predation may be economically efﬁcient. Speciﬁcally, a variable cost increase of 5% ($1,385) was shown to decrease proﬁts by $2,676.
"Predator control activities would only need to reduce death loss due to predators or reduce predator impacts on weaning weights by approximately 1% to be economically efﬁ cient. Which predator management activities can accomplish this remains an open question."
The model also suggests that high rates of predation can threaten the long-term viability of Western ranches.
To read the complete paper, click on this link: Ranch-Level Economic Impacts of Predation in a Range Livestock System (PDF)