Monday, 20 October 2008




Sometimes, I really do miss my research work. I strongly believe that one sunny day, I will continue it. A couple of people asked me to share some of my research papers which were done in 2004. Here we are! Comments are very welcome!

Literature Review Table of Content

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Agricultural history and development

2.3 Mongolian animal husbandry sector’s history and development

2.3.1 A Nomadic way to survive

2.3.2 Semi-settled and settled ways to live

2.4 Australian agricultural sector’s history and development

2.4.1 Land Management

2.4.2 Advanced technology

2.4.3 Integrated agriculture business

2.5 Conclusion

2.6 Reference


2.1 Introduction

The purpose of the literature review of this paper is briefly to review and investigate world agricultural history and its development, particularly Mongolian and Australian animal husbandry sectors will be examined, in terms of these two countries agricultural and animal husbandry sector’s technique, land status and farming management.

The research question of this paper is ‘What is the main difference between Mongolian herders and Australian farmers in terms of farming management?’ The objective of this study is to make comparisons between Mongolian herders and Australian farmers’ farming methods and their challenges.

There is a wide range of literature about the Australian animal husbandry sector and its history, which dates back to the 1700s. It is good to follow old tracks and to know how Australian farmers have gone before and what the Mongolian nomadic herder should do now to operate an efficient modern farming business.

2.2 Agricultural history and development

It is believed that man planted his first seed and tamed his first animal about ten thousand years ago and it was the beginning of the birth of civilization (Rasmussen, 1964; National Geographic Society, 1971; Trippett, 1974; Diamond, 1998; Ostrom, 2000). On the other hand, Toynbee, (1947, 1958, 1966) who made a list of twenty-one civilizations, argued that the last five or six thousand years had seen the birth of civilization; however he agreed that agriculture and the domestication of animals started some nine thousand years ago. Nevertheless, it is believed that civilizations or classifications of human societies emerged among the big rivers and oceans and those countries initiated operating agriculture successfully; however, different civilizations emerged due to differences in their environments (Toynbee, 1958; Ehrlich & Harriman, 1971; Trippett, 1974; Diamond, 1998; Batbayar, 2001). Toynbee (1966) emphasized that the greatest revolution in human history had been the invention of agriculture and the contemporaneous domestication of animals.

American, Canadian, and Australian farmers traditionally have owned their farms, owned land – whether they homesteaded it, bought it, or inherited it (Bailey & Lee, 1970). Farming today is highly commercial; thoroughly market oriented which is based on product specialization and quality. Now people barely use the term ‘commercial farmer’ because all farmers are thus oriented (Durost & Bailey, 1970; Burrows, Mayne & Newbury, 1991). The highly productive farms, that dominate Canada's wheat industries, American meat and wheat industries, Australian meat and wool industries, are increasingly linked with agribusiness, government, (through agricultural policy and programs) and financial institutions for their markets and critical inputs. Nowadays, farmers in highly developed countries have already used computers to calculate grain feeds and huge advances in technology have improved equipment and fertilizers, farmers access market information through the Internet (Toffler, 1990; Cossar, 2003a).

Bossi (1980) argued that the nature and productivity of agriculture throughout human history had been determined by the quality of the land and the relationship between the land and the people dependent on it. By the end of the 17th century, Europe had undergone several major struggles over land and they understood that landlessness could mean powerlessness (Bossi, 1980). Higbee (1963) mentioned that land represents seventy percent of the total value of all farm capital and it is definitely the key capital resource in agriculture.

Benedict (1955) debated that the public lands productivity was very low and it had not been sufficiently attractive as an investment to induce private acquisition hence the lands could be operated more effectively if they were privately owned.

On the other hand, many argue that private property is not a perfect solution for effectiveness of the commons (Hardin, 1968; Ehrlich & Harriman, 1971; Barke & O’Hare, 1984; Pipes, 1999; Ostrom et al, 1999). Ostrom (2000, p. 148) described that commons meant ‘…resources are natural or humanly created systems that generate a finite flow of benefits where it is costly to exclude beneficiaries and one person’s consumption subtracts from the amount of benefit available to others’. Hardin (1968, p. 371) emphasized, ‘Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all’ and it seems that it is difficult to find rules, which are perceived by all users as legitimate, fair, equal, and effective.

Another form of land use is a communal land. If land were communally owned, everyone would try to maximize his or her communal rights. Then, there would be an overwork because some of the costs of his or her going were borne by others. It would result in degradation of land, over hunting and environmental pollution (Ostrom, 2000). There is no perfect way to use lands effectively for everyone; however there are many forms to use the land.

Overall, agriculture is still playing an important role in developing countries’ economies; however, the percentage of GDP derived from the agricultural sector has been declining constantly in most developed countries. It seems that a declining percentage of GDP does not indicate that the value of agriculture is declining. This study chose Mongolia as a developing country and Australia as a developed country to examine their agricultural sector, especially, the animal husbandry sector’s development.

2.3 Mongolian animal husbandry sector’s history and development

2.3.1 A nomadic way to survive

It is believed that the Mongolian steppes have been occupied by nomadic people since 8000 B.C. (Axelbank, 1971; Nyamzagd, 2001b). It is argued that there was no chance to operate agriculture in dry, harsh continental central Asia because it was far away from the ocean and located high above sea level (Barke & O’Hare, 1984; Batbayar 2001); however, USGS (2004) stated that the grasslands of the Mongolian Plateau represent some of the richest agricultural land and the largest expanses of intact native grasslands in the world. Shagdar (2001) argued that domestication of wild animals began in Mongolia between the 8th and 3rd centuries B.C. and animal domestication was the main productive sector rather than hunting. Trippett (1974) made a comment that the tamed horse brought ever-quickening communication, speed and it was the beginning of nomadization. It is difficult to justify and prove this hypothesis because there were many nomadic tribes such as Australian aboriginals, Eskimos who live on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, Bambuti the African nomadic tribe, and Bajau in the Philippines, who do not have a single horse (Toynbee, 1935; 1947; National Geographic Society, 1971). Nomads used to live throughout the world; however their number is decreasing gradually. Nowadays, there are 40 million nomadic people who live in 40 different countries (Mygmarjab, 2004).

It would be a big mistake if someone believes that all nomads are herders and vice versa. National Geographic Society (1971) stated that nomadic people relied on movement to survive whatever their reasons to move. There were many forms of nomadic life because there were many ways of surviving on the move.

Shagdar (2001) remarked that around the 13th and 14th centuries, herder households started forming into small nomadic group settlements and raised a variety of livestock. Nomadic Mongolians maintained their land by sacrificing their lives. Many people (Toynbee, 1966; Axelbank, 1971; Trippett, 1974; Hooker, 1996; Strauss & Turnbull, 1996; Barker, 1997) say that the Mongolian Empire [during the 13th century under the rule of Chingis and Khubilai Khaan] was the largest empire in human history in terms of geographical expanse. By the time when Mongol kings died or killed, there were competitions for the king seat among the warriors. Consequently, Mongolian empire unraveled. As a result, the Manchus conquered Mongolia for over two hundred years between 1691 and 1911 (Axelbank, 1971). Under the Manchu’s regime, Mongols were reduced to serfdom, poverty, and most herders’ animals and wealth belonged to Manchu’s kings, although the herders were still nomads.

In 1921, Mongolia declared itself as the second communist country in the world after the Soviet Union (Lawless, 2000). As a result, a majority of private livestock was transferred to the collective ownership form. Management of collectivism provided various services for herders such as building enclosures, preparing hay, and constructing wells (Shagdar, 2001). Moreover, Mongolia benefited from the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the USA because during that time the Soviet Union invested huge money in the Mongolian agricultural industry. This process brought more advanced animal husbandry methods to herders. It is believed that it was the first stage for nomad Mongolians to adopt settled and semi-settled lifestyle. In 1918, Mongolia had around 540,000 people, most of them were nomadic, and although herders belonged to collectives according to the Government, they were still nomads (National Geographic Society, 1971; Lawless, 2000).

The collapse of the socialist system, which lasted between 1921 and 1989, brought immense difficulties for Mongolians, because the population had no experience in running private enterprises. The poor infrastructure, unemployment, and poverty forced people into cities; however, all Mongolians were free to settle anywhere they chose in the vast country of more than 1.5 million square kilometres (Cambreleng, 2004). Higbee (1963) concluded that while a decline in the number of farms helps to thin the rural population and pack more people into cities, the expansion of cities tends to reverse the process and bring some people back close to the farm.

Now the population stands at almost 2.5 million people and one third of them live in the countryside (National Statistical Office, 2004). There are around 185,000 herders in Mongolia. Away from Ulaanbaatar and the other major cities, Mongolia is still a nomadic herding economy and Barker (1997, p. 147) remarked, ‘Mongolia is one of the few countries in Central Asia where people still live a nomadic lifestyle despite the extreme climate’. This citation could mislead readers of his book because it is believed that the main reason to live a nomadic lifestyle in Mongolia was the extreme climate. Not only for Mongolian nomadic herders, but also for the nomads of the world, the only real dangers and reasons were natural ones. These factors made them the ‘prisoners’ of an annual climatic and vegetational cycle and it was one of the major determinants of farming and general land use (Toynbee, 1935; 1947; 1966; Trippett, 1974; Barke & O’Hare, 1984; Clarke, 2004).

There are no fences in the Mongolian countryside because of the nomad system and cows, horses, goat, camels, and sheep wander across it freely. As a result, rural Mongolians do not possess land. Pasture is considered the country’s real wealth for both herders and the government. Nomadic Mongolians share concepts and rules, which are created without formal, governmental jurisdictions to protect nature and if people violate these rules they suffer not only a loss of favor from the animals such as over hunting, overgrazing, and pollution but also social disgrace. The nomadic Mongolians’ attitudes of living in harmony with nature, leaving the land undivided as a common heritage, and defining community life in terms of the migration of animals and the phases of nature are the main differences from western livestock farmers who own their ‘fenced’ land.

2.3.2 Semi-settled and settled ways to live

Diamond (1998) argues that successful food production permits people to adopt sedentary or settled living and this tendency helped people to develop technology, craft, and construction works. Before the 1960s, eighty five percent of the Mongolian population was living in a nomadic way but now eighty five percent of them are living without a nomadic style and the first generation of urban Mongolians were born in around 1960s (Batbayar, 2001). Shagdar (2001) reported that half of Mongolian families live in the traditional housing form of gers (tents). Most of them are settled or semi-settled and animal husbandry does not really play an important role on their lives.

Communist authorities from the beginning sought to destroy the traditional nomadic community organization and to replace it with centrally controlled collective farms. The communist system was aimed at increased production and used all available technical means, but rigid regimentation allowed little initiative (Toynbee, 1935; Tannous, 1964; Burrows, Mayne & Newbury, 1991). Barke and O’Hare (1984) stated that the form of communal land tenure had been considered an obstacle to agricultural change and economic development. People tended to be collective when there was coercion or something to make individuals act in their common interest and this argument eventually developed into the ‘zero contribution thesis’. Further collectivism was the same as ‘prisoner’s dilemma games’ because members of collective groups begun to reduce their contribution if others did not contribute (Ostrom, 2000). Collectivism was coercion for most Mongolian herders and they were running away to prevent participating in it. The government made every decision, which economically did not work well. As a result, the Mongolian government started to privatize livestock and farming facilities in the 1990s. Livestock privatization encourages a rapid increase in the number of herds.

Today, the Mongolian agricultural sector is being reformed again and the government is trying to develop semi-intensive and intensive methods for agriculture as well as animal husbandry. Nomadic herders are becoming semi-settled and starting to specialize by breeds and livestock (National Statistical Office of Mongolia, 2001). On the other hand, some people such as Amarjargal, Lecturer of the Mongolian Agricultural University, Samdandorj, General Secretary of Red Cross in Mongolia (cited in Gerel, 2004), strongly argue that Mongolian livestock must remain as a nomadic style and herders have to migrate by following their animals. They called it as ‘The Mongolian Gene’. They tried to justify their argument by citing the number of dead livestock in the last few years and they argued that the reason was Mongolian livestock, which were adapted into their environment and nature, hybridized with overseas breeds that give more milk, meat than native breeds and created a weak type of breed.

Mongolian herders have faced a precarious situation as they struggle to respond to the momentous political and economic changes of recent years. Humphrey and Sneath (1999) discovered that the extensive and quite sudden social, political, environmental, and economic changes have forced nomadic people to respond, and evolve in order to maintain their centuries-old way of life. Nevertheless, in 2002, the government passed the law, which allows owning land. Now one can see the historical process of transition from pure nomadism to semi-settled and permanent agriculture in the Mongolian countryside. Keeping bigger herds demands more and better grazing lands unless herders use efficient land management and advanced technology. These strategies eventually led nomadic herders to an integrated form of agriculture.

2.4 Australian agricultural sector’s history and development

2.4.1 Land management

In 1787, George III, king of England gave an instruction to Governor Philip before he set out to establish the new penal settlement at Botany Bay in New South Wales in Australia. The main point of instruction was to use land (Shaw, 1967). Sheep and cattle farmers play an important role in Australian agricultural land management. A land owner has a freedom to use his or her land and to transfer it; however, the government does retain some control by virtue of the right of eminent domain, the right to tax and land-use regulations (Campbell, 1967). The Australian Encyclopedia (1996b) stated that the feudal land tenure system was introduced into Australia by English common law. According to this law, generally speaking, there are two forms of land ownership, such as freehold and leasehold, which exist in Australia.

Before these legislations, there was squatting. It seemed that squatting emerged because of the lack of a land policy at that time in Australia. A squatter meant a person who had squatted on unoccupied land for pastoral purposes without official permission. But eventually this term began to be used to all persons who squatted on public land without permission, later to those who held their sheep run (Shaw, 1960; Buckley, 1964; Roberts, 1964; Clark, 1969; The Australian Encyclopedia, 1996c). The first local squatting Act of 1833 passed in New South Wales, later on the Government Act of 1842, which was the first general land act for all Australia (Buckley, 1964; Roberts, 1964). It was the starting point to lease lands and eventually it gave a chance to people to buy their own land.

A fence is considered the main tool of Australian farmers and herders. Donald (1967, p. 67) declared, ‘Australia is one of the most fully fenced countries in the world’. On the other hand, Davidson (1966) confirmed that cattle were run on the open range in large herds and fencing was practically non-existent in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, and Northwestern Australia. Rangeland agriculture plays an important role especially in Western Australian, Northern Territory, and Queensland; however, it is argued that rangelands, approximately seventy five percent of Australian total landmass, are not being managed in an ecologically sustainable way (Sustainable Natural Resource Management in the Rangelands, 1997; Sutton, 1999; PGA, 1999; Sustainability of the Pastoral Rangelands, 2003). Pastoralism has a long history in the rangelands and it is the most widespread form of land use (ANZECC & ARMCANZ, 1999). Australia’s north east tropical area of Queensland, together with the usable portion of the continent with a growing season of less than five months, is referred to as the Pastoral Zone. Davidson (1967, p. 39) remarked, ‘The Pastoral Zone is also unique in Australian agriculture because it depends on employed rather than on family labor…and many of the farming properties are operated by large pastoral companies’ and basically, cattle grazing is the dominant form of land use in the northern tropical part, while sheep grazing predominates in the southern non-tropical section.

Shaw (1967, p. 15-16) stated, ‘All states passed land legislation to encourage closer settlement, and by 1914 had purchased three million acres of privately owned land for $68 million’. Land became the real asset for families and they started using it wisely and accurately. According to history, it seemed that the land was the most important capital at all (Clark, 1969; Toffler, 1990).

2.4.2 Advanced technology

Revolutionary technological process has a potential to bring revolutionary social change and it has already been confirmed by the Internet, satellites, and cloning. A large amount of Australian research work has been aimed at developing pasture species, which will flourish in the short Australian growing season because some parts of Australia have insufficient moisture and lack an irrigation systems for plant growth (Davidson, 1966; 1967).

Donald (1967) stated that Australia has changed from a labor-intensive to a capital-intensive operation, based on the bulldozer, tractor, and other machines. Technology makes life easier; however, Ostrom et al (1999) argued that technology was not a substitute for decision-making how to effectively use common pool resources. Higbee (1963) stated that in 1800, an average of fifty six hours of labor were required to produce an acre of wheat, today it takes less than two hours of labor and does it better and the technological revolution in agriculture is partly genetic and chemical. Using a modern feeding system, one man can now take care of 70,000 chickens and can handle 5,000 head of cattle (Hardin, 1970). Moreover, according to Barke and O’Hare’s (1984) research, American farmers were on average 120 times more productive than the farmers of the developing countries because of technology.

Agricultural science and technology has to be developed because the increasing number of world population must be fed. The traditional way of agriculture cannot satisfy the increasing world food demand. It is reported that now most developed countries’ farmers were being offered to be served by satellites to monitor how fast their grass is growing and to improve pasture and irrigation management (Ostrom et al, 1999; Oakley, 2004). Australian Agricultural Minister Kim Chance (cited in Oakley, 2004) said that this new technology had led to a significant rise in profits for those in the trial, some by up to 150 percent. Furthermore, Trebeck (cited in Way, 2003d) remarked, ‘It is the era of the serious professional who uses technology, better agronomy, financial instrument, improved marketing and water conservation to improve yields and drive costs down’. Meat and Livestock Australia (2004) remarked, ‘Australia's livestock producers are already among the world's most efficient and are leaders in advanced animal husbandry and production techniques’.

2.4.3 Integrated agricultural business

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Australia (1994) remarked that just two hundred years ago Australia was a land without agriculture but today agriculture is one of Australia’s biggest industries. Donald (1967) stated that Australia had several advantages as an environment for agriculture, such as a mild winter and vast size. The first farm management club in Australia was established in 1956 in New South Wales and it was incorporated by a group of thirty to fifty farmers (Druce, 1967). Fin (1997, p. 318) emphasized, ‘The farm sector contributes about three percent of Australia’s total GDP’. This percentage was 3.8 percent by the end of 2003 and the 2002-2003 drought has shaved less than 1 percent off the Australian GDP; however there are a large number of small businesses. A century ago, when agriculture made up a quarter of the nation’s economy, it would have cut growth by 7-8 percent (The Australian Encyclopedia, 1996a; Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2003;, 2003; Ruthven, 2003). It proves that Australia’s economy is not dependent on agriculture nowadays. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003), in 2001, Australia had 3.2 million milk cattle, 24.5 million meat cattle and 110 million sheep and lambs. Furthermore, about two-thirds of the national flock is on properties with over two thousand sheep (Sheep in Australia, 2004).

Some domestic mammals such as cow, yak, and sheep interacted with domestic plants to increase crop production by manure applied as fertilizer (Diamond, 1998). Most farm income is from marketing livestock and livestock products and crops. Davidson (1966) stated about intensive cattle fattening in the Northern Territory that it was a combination of a cattle farm and cropping. Australian farmers and their farms in its 6 states are not all alike. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Australia (1994) stated that there were 125,000 farmers in Australia in 1994 and this number was gradually decreasing because of the use of labor saving technology and machines. Operators of farms differ in age, educational attainment, management skills, whether they are full-time or part-time farmers, and in many other ways. Their farms range from under a few acres to thousands of hectares in size, they may raise livestock or crops, they may be specialized in one type of farm enterprise or be diversified (Randall & Myers, 1970). For example, only one wealthy farming family owns 117,000 square kilometres or 1.5 percent of Australia’s land mass (Way, 2003a). Some areas are more profitable to grow sheep than grain, some of them not. The most important agricultural and pastoral industries produce cereals (mostly wheat), sheep, beef cattle, dairy cattle, wool, sugar, honey, fruit, and grapes for wine (Fin, 1997).

2.5 Conclusion

It seemed that agricultural diversity was a reflection of variations in cultural and environmental factors. A lot of changes have been made in the world agricultural industry since it started ten thousand years ago. Some of the major changes involve the land using system, technology revolution, an increase in intensification and commercialization. These changes result in changes to the level of productivity and income. This tendency leads modern farmers towards private and small to medium scale farming. Agriculture is the major source of employment and contributes substantially to national income as well as foreign exchange earnings for most developing countries; whereas, the agricultural sector’s percentage of GDP is declining gradually in the developed countries.

The increasing number of livestock which resulted in degradation of pastureland, natural disaster, lack of business management, the land using system challenges nomadic Mongolian herders to have semi-intensive and intensive farming technique to cope with a market system, which Mongolia only introduced over the last fourteen years.


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mglaus said...

incredible, specially the name. u-r academic writing skill is not bad, really.

Anonymous said...

No method and results in this so-called research paper!!! Can it be research paper? I guess it is a kind of reports. Anyway a good try.

Vinzo said...

Thanks for your comments!
To Anonymous guest: Well! It has been titled Literature Review which was only one chapter of my thesis. If you are interested in to know more about research methodology, samples, and its results, please free to contact me.

Anonymous said...

So where is your position? You promote settled lifestyle for nomads or maintain them as nomads? What would be the impacts of both ways? That would be really interesting to hear.

Anonymous said...

I really want to see your whole paper? Would that be possible?

Anonymous said...

I really want to see the whole paper. Would it be possible?

Vinzo said...

Just a quick note. Please refer the following link as my conclusion.