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Resource allocation for the median peace river farm in British Columbia Holtby, Robert Gordon

Abstract

The specific objective of this study was to determine the most profitable use of agricultural resources for the median farmer in the Peace River block of British Columbia. The tool to determine this objective was Linear Programming. Fifteen activities were selected for consideration within the program. These were: four crop rotations; cow-calf; cow-yearling; four beef feedlot activities; pasture finishing of beef; confinement rearing of lambs; conventional rearing of lambs; farrow to finish swine; and finishing swine. The restraints on these activities were 480 acres of cultivated land, a sum of capital equal to $70,000 less the cost of the land, and four 780 hour labour periods. To account for disparities in the agriculture within the region, nine linear program matrices were constructed to reflect conditions documented for nine districts within the Peace River. Because no consistent data base was found to exist the author carried out a literature search to select the "best data" available for the purposes of this study. Once the data base was constructed and the programs run, the results were analysed. All nine programs called for the finishing of beef cattle using purchased high moisture barley ensiled, purchased hay, supplement, and other feedstuffs. Five of the programs also called for finishing beef cattle on pasture with purchased grain fed free choice but restricted with animal tallow. The Gross Margins resulting from these activities ranged from $19,082. to $33,936. The importance of these results lies in the fact that all crop activities which currently dominate the agricultural economy were rejected. Thus, if the median farmer is to achieve optimality, he must radically change his technology. The type of change recommended by this study is the most difficult to achieve. It calls for a concerted effort by provincial extension personnel to provide educational programs which encourage and facilitate the acceptance of such change.

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