Associate Professor Ross Drynan


I am interested in microeconomic analysis, both theory in general and the opportunities for its application to the agricultural and natural resource sectors in particular. I aspire to gaining new insights and like to read the microeconomics literature extensively for a stimulating academic environment. Fathoming how one might usefully conceptualize, model and analyze situations generally gives me more satisfaction than the actual doing.

Research interests

The theory and agricultural applications of methods of mathematical optimization, including linear programming, more general convex programming, integer programming and dynamic programming have been of enduring interest. Allied to this is my profound interest in decision making under risk and uncertainty. My interest has been predominantly normative, and generally I have worked within the expected utility paradigm. I have been particularly interested in examining how far decision analyses can be taken when the decision problem was less than fully specified, e.g. the stochastic dominance rules. I have always been interested in sequential decision theory, with its associated concepts/special cases of value of information, value of flexibility, optimal stopping and option value. I am currently interested in potential farmer interest in non-traditional agricultural risk management instruments, such as insurance (and derivatives) based on rainfall or simulated yields at various points in space.

I am interested in bio-economic modelling generally, including the temporal and spatial modelling of pest (particularly weed) problems, and the optimal replacement/renewal of biological assets such as livestock, pastures and trees.


Ross Drynan received a BAgrSc(Hons) in 1972 from the University of Queensland and then completed his PhD in the field of statistical decision theory and specifically, the value of information and implications for experimental designs, at the University of New England in 1977. He worked in the US at North Carolina State University, studying optimal utilization of waste from intensive livestock operations. Subsequently he moved back to Australia in 1980, and worked joining the University of Queensland as a lecturer in 1980. He spent periods abroad in the UN (University of Manchester) and Indonesia (Bogor Agricultural University). He joined Sydney as the Head of Department of Agricultural Economics in 1990.

Recent publications

  • Pradhan, D., Ancev, T., Drynan, R. and Michael Harris, M. (2011), 'Management of Water Reservoirs (Embungs) in West Timor, Indonesia', Water Resources Management 25, 339-56.
  • Godden, D., Batterham, R.L. and Drynan, R.G. (1998), ‘Scientific correspondence: climate change and Australian wheat yield’, Nature 391, 447-8.
  • Drynan, R.G. (1988), 'Determining statistical dominance by linear programming', Journal of the Australian Mathematical Society. Series B. Applied Mathematics 29: 266-9.
  • Drynan, R.G. (1987), 'A generalised concept of dominance in linear programming models', Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics 55, 147-54.
  • Drynan, R.G. (1986), 'A note on optimal rules for stochastic efficiency analysis', Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics 30, 53-62.
  • Drynan, R.G. and Sandiford, F. (1985), 'Incorporating economic objectives in goal programmes for fisheries management', Marine Resources Economics 2, 179-95.
  • Drynan, R.G. (1985), 'Wheat: Australia's hidden mineral export - a comment', Journal of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science, 52, 149-53.
  • Griffiths, W.E., Drynan, R.G. and Prakash, S. (1979), 'Bayesian estimation of a random coefficient model', Journal of Econometrics 10, 201-20.
  • Drynan, R.G. (1979), 'A note on the use of sample estimates in optimization models', American Journal of Agricultural Economics 61, 321-6.