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Types of production systems and economic performances in mountain cattle farms

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Authors: A.M. Olaizola, E. Manrique, M.T. Maza
Issue: 91A-2 (47-58)
Topic: Animal Production
Keywords: typology of systems, economic performances, cattle farms, mountain

The production systems used in mountain areas are very heterogenous, even when considering small geographical zones, due to the diversity of internal farming factors, the physical and economic environment and the level and dynamics of intensification. The purpose of this study is to establish a typology of cattle farms, based on economic indicators, which will allow us to analyze, in subsequent studies, the different ways (technical, environmental, etc.) in which each system can be adapted to specific policies.
The methodology used has involved the calculation of a large group of parameters (33) related to structure, costs and intensity, productions, capitalization and economic results which are based on a survey carried out on a sample of (50) cattle farms in a high mountain valley in Spain's Central Pyrenees. The information has been analyzed by means of Principal Components Analysis (PCA) and Cluster Analysis (11 variables and 50 cases).
The PCA has permitted five factors to be selected, the first three explaining 60% of the variance and can be identified as expressing the "size and profitability of the farms", "the intensity of the system used" and "The predominant tendency towards dairy farming". The Cluster Analysis carried out with the first three factors has allowed us to differentiate seven groups (systems). Finally the characteristics and differences among these groups have been analyzed and discussed based on a set of mean indicators established for each group.

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