Use of seasonal climate forecasts in rangeland-based livestock operations in West Texas
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This paper discusses the potential value of seasonal climate forecasts for ranchers in West Texas, based on the assessment of a focus group and ecological-economic modeling. The conclusion of the focus group was that the forecasts could potentially increase their ranch productivity by providing information to use in stocking, brush control, and deer herd management decisions. However, because there was also concern that "value-added" forage forecasts could be misused, the authors suggest that the concept of "value-added" should be reassessed by the climate-forecasting community. The authors estimate the value of seasonal forage forecasts in guiding stocking rate choices. The results confirmed their hypothesis that numerous economic factors , including restocking and destocking prices, influence the value of the forecasts. Based on the economic model and the results from the focus group, the authors conclude that multiyear modeling is needed to better assess the potential of climate forecasts.