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An economic analysis of technological progress on diary farms in the Lower Fraser Valley, British Columbia Walker, Hugh V. Hillary

Abstract

This study is based on the hypotheses that technical advances have increased the efficiency with which factor-inputs are converted into output on dairy farms, and have induced shifts in the input structure of dairy farms. The method used to test these hypotheses has been to measure changes in: (⊥) the real savings in the use of factors during the period 1946 to 1954 and then to make a linear projection of the trend, which existed during the 1946 - 1954 period, into 1961; and (2) the relative importance of inputs over the period 1946 to 1954. Inputs have been divided into seven categories viz: feed purchased; custom work; labour; cost of operating farm machinery and repairs and maintenance of machinery, equipment and buildings; depreciation; interest on investment; and miscellaneous items. Milk was the only output considered in this thesis. Efficiency was measured as the ratio of total output to total input within a given year. The results of the study support the hypothesis. They show that shifts had taken place in the relative importance between labour, and the other factors of production, and that associated with these shifts had been an increase in overall efficiency between 1946 and 1954 of 20 percent, which if projected to 1961 would amount to 34 percent. Thus technological progress had resulted in gains in overall efficiency, with which inputs were converted into output on dairy farms. The study has also shown the types of adjustments on dairy farms which were necessary in order to achieve gains in overall efficiency. It has also been indicated that the dairy farm industry of the Lower Fraser Valley has the potentialities for increasing its output of milk in response to future increases in demand, which growth in population would render necessary.

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