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Evolutions, scatters and determinants of the farm income in suckler cattle Charolais farms. A study over 15 years (1989 - 2003) from a 69 farm constant sample.

INRA Prod. Anim., 18(4), 265-275.


INRA, Laboratoire d’Economie de l’Elevage, F-63122 Saint-Genès Champanelle

Despite the successive reforms of the common agricultural policy and a strong reorganisation, the farm income of the professional suckler cattle farms remains, on average, always one of the lowest of all French farms. The monitoring of a constant group of 69 suckler cattle Charolais farms from the north Massif Central over 15 years (from 1989 to 2003) showed a high increase of the farm area and herd size with a constant workforce. This increase in the labour productivity, a response to the constant drop in the meat sale price only partly compensated by subsidies, was accompanied by an evolution of the farming systems (a decrease in the rate of fattened males and shortening of the production cycles). The variability of our sample is expressed by the size (area and herd), also by the specialisation rate (livestock or mixed crop-livestock farming) and by the choice of the production system (animals fattened or not). Overall, the average farm income per worker remained stable, with an increased dependence of the latter facing the subsidies. The average of the incomes is almost the same whatever the production system, but the scatter of the intra-system incomes is relatively significant. The income per worker always remains correlated with size criteria (herd and/or area) but with the following distinction : before the first CAP reform, the size of the livestock was important because of the outputs that it generated ; after 1992, the size has an effect on the farm income by the subsidies that it makes it possible to perceive.

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