Unraveling the impact of variable external input use on the cost efficiency of dairy farms in Europe

Oluwaseun Mercy Ojo, Adewale Adenuga, Ludwig Lauwers, Jef Van Meensel

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftA2: Artikel in een internationaal wetenschappelijk tijdschrift met peer review, dat niet inbegrepen is in A1


There has been a global shift towards intensification in the dairy sector in recent years which may have
considerable impact on the cost efficiency and economic returns of farms. Considering this, the goal of this study
is to offer an empirical analysis of the effect of variable external input use on dairy farms. Employing a novel
Activity Analysis Model (AAM), the study analysis was conducted in two distinct but complementary steps. In the
first step, we discriminated two technologies (low and high inputs) which allow us to classify a sample of dairy
farms according to their level of intensification, while in the second step, we evaluated two cost efficient frontiers
instead of assessing individual farm inefficiency scores. With this approach, we explore different technologies
within a sample of EU dairy farms. Our results, on average, shows that agricultural practices using low inputs
dominates the high input ones for farms operating on a large scale while a slight dominance of high input over low
inputs exist for small scale farmers. While we reckon that low input can be cost competitive with their high input
counterparts, we also note that regional differences do exist. Thus, showing that the significant gap between the
two discriminating frontiers depends not only on farm size but also on farm region. We found that increased cost
efficiency can reduce the negative environmental impact of EU-dairy farms while simultaneously reducing
farmers’ production costs. The results of the study can therefore provide a direction to policymakers and dairy
farmers alike as regards the efficient use of external inputs which may consequently reduce environmental
burdens associated with dairy farms.
Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
TijdschriftEnvironmental and Sustainability Indicators
Aantal pagina’s11
PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - dec.-2020


  • B410-landbouwhydrologie
  • Dairy farming system
  • High and low input technology (HIT and LIT)
  • Heterogeneous technologies
  • Activity analysis model (AAM)
  • Robust cost frontier


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