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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A vegetable farm planning model for primary producers Short, C. Cameron


The objective of the thesis was to construct a deterministic single year, farm planning model that would enable vegetable producers to select an optimal farm plan from among alternative crops and crop production methods so as to maximize farm income consistent with technological and resource constraints and other goals. The model was to be readily adaptable to a wide range of commercial vegetable farmers in Canada but sufficiently flexible to be adaptable to the particular situation of a specific farm. A multiperiod linear programming model was built and validated through its application to a large commercial vegetable farm. The relevant theory of the firm was reviewed with special attention made to the theory's application to vegetable farms. The structure of a linear programming problem was discussed and related to the theory of the firm and vegetable farms. Special emphasis was placed on the problem of modeling the machinery used in vegetable production. The work of agricultural engineers was examined to determine the technological relationships involved in machine operation. Other crop budgeting models which involved the construction of similar planning models for a different sector of the agricultural community, especially the Purdue Crop Budgeting Models were reviewed. The model constructed was able to deal with machinery constraints by building a number of machine operating activities and tractor transfers so that the time constraint for a particular job would consist of any subset of the predefined set of time periods. Standard coefficients were prepared based on engineering formulae for fuel consumption and repair and maintenance costs for tractors. All inputs in the model except repair and maintenance costs were in physical units. This made it necessary to build several different types of purchasing or renting activities but facilitates the interpretation of data and the use of the model in a large number of different situations. The model was validated through its application to a large commercial vegetable farm in British Columbia. The model was run in simulation mode by forcing the model to follow the farm's 1974 crop plan and altering yields and prices to yields and prices that actually occured in that year. In this manner the reliability of the cost coefficients of the input data and the relationships between resources could be evaluated and compared with the results recorded in the farm's CANFARM records. The model was run in optimization mode with expected 1976 prices and yields to demonstrate the use of the model in selecting an optimal farm plan. A total of six plans were prepared based on alternate market and risk constraints and yields. These were compared with the plan selected by the farmer without the aid of the model. A detailed report on one of the farm plans v/as also prepared.

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