Economic costs of sharing the harvester in the control of an invasive weed.
Spatial externalities, such as the sharing of harvesting equipment by many farmers, have an impact on the control of invasive species in the agricultural environment. In these cases, the regulator must design a set of measures to promote coordinated control by affected parties. We aim to analyze the determinants of private versus collective control efforts in the case of a particular invasive species (teosinte) occurring as a weed in corn fields throughout North-Eastern Spain. Using a simple discrete space-dynamic framework, we model the effect of the decisions made by the farmer of an infested plot on a noninfested plot, with the harvester being the only potential pathway for the invader to spread and assuming a one-way invasion. The results reveal that failure to adopt optimal cooperative strategies causes losses to other plots if they become infested amounting to an annual average of EUR 322/ha, when the infestation is low, and EUR 364/ha, when it is high. Results suggest that cleaning the harvester, a measure currently recommended by the regulatory agency in low-infestation cases but that does not guarantee that the machine is completely clean, is not socially optimal if monocropping practices are permitted in the region.