21 results for Nuthall, P. L., Book

  • Development of tests for assessing managerial ability on N.Z. farms

    Nuthall, P. L.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    Production depends on the successful co-ordination and management of the physical resources and capital available. Over the decades major effort has been directed at understanding the physical resources, improving the efficiency of production, and developing symbolic models that can be used to explore operational systems. However, a key resource in making use of all the research is the management input. Without an appropriate management input, production is chaotic. Yet little research has been directed at understanding the psychology of decision making, and how the managerial ability of each individual might be improved. The research reporting in this publication is a move towards a better understanding of managerial skill – it involves the development of tests that might be used to assess a manager's ability and approach to decision making. These tests can then be used as a component in training programmes to assess improvements.

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  • The psychology of decision making in farm management : a review of the background to managerial ability, and suggestions for a research programme to investigate its improvement

    Nuthall, P. L.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    Managerial ability has always been regarded as an important parameter in agricultural production. However, while there have been studies on descriptive aspects of management processes and abilities (e.g., Johnson et al (1961)), few studies have focussed on developing methods and procedures for improving the level of individual manager's abilities. This review is designed to appraise the background to managerial ability, particularly with respect to the relevant psychological research, and to consider the structure of research programmes designed to develop ability enhancing systems.

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  • Feed management and computer practices on a sample of New Zealand farms

    Nuthall, P. L.; Bishop-Hurley, G. J.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    In an environment where producers are faced with the need to continually improve productive efficiency in order to generate higher levels of net income, a fundamental aspect is the provision of appropriate quantities of feed for animals while maintaining a stocking rate consistent with management and marketing requirements. The basis of low cost animal protein production in New Zealand is the low cost, relative to other countries, of the production of animal feed, namely pasture production. However, low cost production of feed is only ""well used"" where feed utilisation is optimal. In order to achieve this, feed budgeting techniques are required. Farmers allocate feed to their animals using a variety of techniques which range in sophistication. A result of this is the maintenance of a significant buffer between the optimal pasture production level and the feed demand. Better feed budgeting techniques would allow higher stock carrying capacities to be achieved, greater output for given levels of inputs and therefore higher productive efficiency. This Research Report presents the results of a survey of farmers which investigated their feed budgeting practices and their ownership and use of computers. It is anticipated that in future, computer packages/systems will be developed which can aid in the feed budgeting activity and therefore contribute to higher productivity on New Zealand farms. This Report is the first in a series of five which will review computer use and the application of an expert systems approach to farm management.

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  • Factors associated with the development of effective experience in excellent managerial ability

    Nuthall, P. L.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    Modelling farmers’ managerial ability shows that farmers’ lessons from various forms of experience are by far the most significant factor in achieving high management skill. This begs the question of obtaining an understanding of the components making up successful experiential outcomes. To help unravel this question the results from analysing 740 farmer survey questionnaires is presented. It turns out high ‘experience’ is related to many factors.

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  • Managing welfare improvement for the urban poor : a case study from Bangkok, Thailand

    Kananurak, C.; Nuthall, P. L.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    The purpose of this study was to investigate how the urban poor community dwellers in Bangkok manage their own development projects through community schemes. The main objectives were to explore the needs of the poor, the management constraints, opinions on the successfulness of the schemes, the possibility for their sustainability, and to obtain suggestions for improved methods. There were three groups of respondents to the questionnaires used: the community dwellers, the scheme (project) committee members, and two officers of supporting organisations (NGOs). The numbers involved were 135 community dwellers and 14 committee members as well as the two organisational officers. The results showed that the community dwellers did not in general participate in project preparation, design and implementation with the main barrier being their poverty which required them to spend all their time earning. However, most were satisfied with the intentions of the project committees and noted that the Social Investment Fund (the funding scheme) would reduce their poverty if the project committees could continue the work started and increase the amount of the loans. The committee members are the social capital of the community and were supported by the co-ordinating organisational officers. However, the committee could not use full participatory approaches due to insufficient time, but the members did participate in all stages of the project cycle: preparation, design and implementation. This experience will assist the locals in working for their community in the longer run. Committee members and the organisational officers agreed that the SIF project was effective in bringing about social cohesion and mutual support. The project should be sustainable through its revolving fund even though it includes the poorest people as beneficiaries. A successful outcome will not be seen in the short run as effects of factors such as enhanced education take many years and will depend on the continuing access to credit. The final evaluation will need to be carried out after the project has been in operation for several years.

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  • Farmers' goals and efficiency in the production of sugar cane : the Philippine case

    Padilla-Fernandez, M. D.; Nuthall, P. L.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    This research evaluated the link between Philippine Sugar cane farmers' goals, values and attitudes (and some selected efficiency-related variables) with production efficiency. The analysis was based on both information from informal interviews and formal primary data collection. The Data Envelopment Analysis technique was used to determine the relative efficiencies of individual farmers and to identify the major factors that influence the efficiency of production. Pure technical, scale, overall technical, allocative and economic efficiency measures were derived for the sample of sugar cane farmers from the Central Negros area, The Philippines. Under the specification of variable returns to scale (VRS), the mean pure technical, scale, overall technical, allocative and economic efficiency indices were 0.7580, 0.9884, 0.7298, 0.7941 and 0.6025, respectively. The farmers' characteristics and their associations with goals and attitudes were determined. The result shows that 'per cent of land owned' is correlated with farmers' decision-making and thus their production efficiency. The study was unique in that it incorporated the farmers' values and attitudes towards farming and production efficiency. The Bootstrap regression method was used to determine the factors affecting the variations in farmers' efficiency. Factors positively associated with production efficiency include farm experience, exposure to extension and off-farm work; for goals and attitudes - the intrinsic independence goal, the instrumental aspects of farming, leisure orientation, optimistic attitude, and risk consciousness were all associated with efficiency. The key policy options that must be considered for addressing inefficiencies include education and extension advice, developing the importance of the instrumental aspects of farming, developing group (block) farming as well as farmers' and millers' cooperatives, improved access to credit and improved technology (with emphasis on soil and fertiliser management and the use of improved varieties).

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  • Actual and potential computer use by a group of primary producers

    Nuthall, P. L.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    "In the rural sector, computer adoption has been significant, although not at the rate evident in the urban scene. In order to identify the level and type of computer use practised by rural businesses, especially farmers, a survey was carried out by the Kellogg Farm Management Unit at Lincoln University. The results of that survey are presented in this research report. The Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit has a continuing interest in farmer decision making, the information sources used and the aids employed in making farm business decisions. This research report provides information on the computing side of farmer decision making and provides useful insight to that process. We anticipate that publication of these research results will be of considerable interest to those in farm business management, and to those involved in providing computer hardware and software to the rural sector. We also anticipate that these research results will enable those servicing the rural sector to make more effective contributions to farmer decision making and so help to enhance the efficiency of the farm management process."

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  • Computer system uptake and use on New Zealand farms : 1998 and 1993 comparisons

    Nuthall, P. L.; Benbow, C.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    A national postal survey of 3,021 randomly selected primary producers was conducted over late 1997 - early 1998 to investigate the penetration of “on-farm” computers and clarify details of their use. The sample was stratified by geographical location, farm type and physical area. The response rate (49.5%) was exceptional with 1,437 valid replies being received by the mid-April 1998 cut-off date. For other than farms less than 75 hectares the responding sample was very similar to the total population. Computer penetration has now reached 42.72% of the sample compared with 6% in 1986 and 24.40% in 1993. The “computer farms” tend to be larger than non-computer farms, the managers tend to have higher levels of formal education, they tend to be younger, and they tend to be involved in more off-farm businesses. The main reasons for not owning a computer include “no use to me”, “too expensive”, “not economic” and “couldn’t learn to use”. From ownership/intended ownership details it appears the uptake rate is probably at a maximum now. By far the majority of computers are “IBM compatible”. Computer use is around 20 hours per month with word processing, financial recording and analysis as well as financial budgeting continuing to be the important uses. The farm manager and his or her spouse are the main business use operators (78.5%). Most users (89%) believe a computer is an economic investment. Of increasing importance is the use of the Internet with some 3 hours/month spent on Internet access and communication. Currently 28% of computer users have a connection, but a further 40% indicate they will connect in the next two years. E-mail is the main use of the Internet but “entertainment and fun” as well as technical information gathering are important uses. Some 47% believe the Internet is valuable or better with 37% still being neutral or undecided. Users await further developments. Generally, there are few differences when the data is divided by farm type, suggesting most managers view a computer similarly for all production types. Of major significance is the conclusion that computer owners and non-owners are not inherently different in their objectives. While further work on a wide range of variables is necessary, this suggests training programmes and software need not be markedly different for each sector.

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  • Objectives, subsistence and farm development: the case of Tonga

    Fakava, V. T.; Nuthall, P. L.; Nartea, G. V.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    Smallholder production is the main mode of agricultural production in Tonga. This report assesses the current practices with consideration to the farmers' attitudes, their traditional social institutions, cultural values and the effect this has on production. An independent village survey was used as the main source of primary data for this study. Analysis of agricultural performance and critiques of Tongan government policies toward agriculture not only identified the constraints on agricultural production but also indicated farmers' likely responses to policy changes. The modelled effects of different policy measures confirms that market development instruments, improved technologies and increasing farmer motivation can have a substantial and positive impact on farm revenue and commercial development. Based on the findings from this study, given appropriate types of improved technology, supportive agricultural policies (research and extension, market, land tenure, education, etc), and appropriate incentives, smallholder farmers can simultaneously pursue the goals of increasing national agricultural production and securing increased rural welfare.

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  • Women’s employment and its impact on life in a Fijian village

    Hewitt, P. R.; Nuthall, P. L.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    Men have often been significant beneficiaries of development interventions. This has stemmed from increasing the economic strength of the target population. In the 1990's there has been a shift by development agencies to a more equitable focus where a better quality of life for everyone in a household is more often the target. Because men have predominantly held the recognised income earning role in the household, increases in employment opportunities resulting from development intervention tend to leave women to take on the work previously carried out by the men. This increases an already heavy workload for women. The village of Natokalau, on the island of Ovalau in Fiji, is faced with a different situation. Here, many of the women have gained employment in a fish canning factory. This leaves some of the household and child-care duties formerly carried out by the women to the men of the village. This study reports on the results of studying this village to ascertain the effects of womens' employment.

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  • Input use inefficiencies in the production of sugar cane in Central Negros Area, Philippines : an application of data envelopment analysis

    Padilla-Fernandez, M. D.; Nuthall, P. L.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    This research attempts to identify sources of input use inefficiency for sugar cane production in the Central Negros area, The Philippines. Non-parametric Data Envelopment Analysis was used to determine the relative technical, scale, overall technical, allocative and economic efficiencies of individual farms which use the same inputs and produce the same raw material (cane) and output (sugar). Under a specification of variable returns to scale (VRS), the mean pure technical, scale, overall technical, allocative and economic efficiency indices were 0.7580, 0.9884, 0.7298, 0.7941 and 0.6025. lnput use differences between the purely technical efficient and inefficient farms is statistically different for area, seeds and labour inputs. There was no significant variation in the use of fertiliser and power inputs. For the overall technically efficient and inefficient farms, use of seeds and NPK fertiliser were statistically different. Apart from the lower amount of seeds, fertiliser and power used, the larger profit obtained by the economically efficient farms was due to the lower price paid for each input except labour. The productive efficiency of small, medium and large farms were also determined. Small farms appeared to be economically inefficient compared to the large ones while medium and large farms appeared to be equally economically efficient. Analysis of input use differences among farm size class shows that the higher input usage by the large farms tends to increase the quantity produced and with the low price of inputs, generates a larger profit per hectare. The higher input prices faced by the small farmers tends to reduce the amount of input used thus giving a lower profit. Thus, part of the allocative efficiency differences between the farm size groups may be attributed to the differences in the input price, resulting from market power.

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  • Factors affecting Canterbury, New Zealand farmers' adoption and use of computerised information systems

    Alvarez, J.; Nuthall, P. L.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    The aim of this study is to identify which factors have operated as adoption barriers to information innovations (computerised systems) in Canterbury (New Zeeland) daily farming. This study is a attempt to link the farm management information system development process with the characteristics that may affect farmer information adoption, and their successful use. Firstly, the research problem is briefly presented, then, two sets of hypotheses are stated, and the research method is described. Secondly, the results are presented and discussed, and finally some conclusions are presented.

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  • The application of expert system methodology to feed management

    Nuthall, P. L.; Bishop-Hurley, G. J.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    Computers are becoming an increasing part of the range of tools available to farmers in carrying out their farm management activities. However, there is a range of utilisation of computers within the farming sector. This Research Report provides an application which farmers would find of value in assisting with decision regarding feed conservation and feed surplus utilisation. Earlier publications in this Series present systems applicable to drenching decisions and weaning and a farmer evaluation of the use of the type of computer assistance. This final publication in the series incorporates many of the developments described in earlier reports. This successful research subject has collected information from producers and developed computer based support systems which can provide valuable assistance in decision making.

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  • An expert system for weaning lambs

    Bishop-Hurley, G. J.; Nuthall, P. L.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    The animal grazing industry is a major sector of New Zealand's economy. Managers controlling the utilisation of the nation's massive pasture production tend to make utilisation decisions using experience and intuition in contrast to formal analytical analyses. Yet, when related to the potential, production achieved tends to suggest improvements are possible. That is, greater production is possible with the same resources, or alternatively the same production is possible from a smaller resource input. It appears one of the reasons for the lack of formal planning is the farmers' belief that the work involved is not commensurate with the gains. Thus, if techniques that are simple to use and provide an efficiency gain can be found they clearly have potential. The study reported in this Report concerns the development of an expert system for a small component of the grazing management problem. It is proposed that such an expert system meets these requirements. This report is one of a series describing several expert systems in the area of grazing management.

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  • Managerial competencies in primary production : the view of a sample of New Zealand farmers

    Nuthall, P. L.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    A mail survey designed to obtain the views of New Zealand primary producers on the important management competencies was sent to a randomly selected sample of 2300 managers in mid-February 2001. The sample was stratified according to region, farm type and area. The response rate was 41.1%. Most production units are ‘family farms’ and 92% employ, including the managers, four or less people. The five most important managerial attributes were: a) keeping up-to-date with the current state of the property, b) an ability to identify key factors, c) making requirements clearly understood (communication), d) assessing job priorities, e) quickly sorting out new situations. This priority list is very similar to that proposed by a sample from the members of the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management (NZIPIM). Essentially, the important attributes involve observation, introspection (key factors, job priorities) and communication. It should also be noted that other attributes were reasonably highly ranked. Respondents did, therefore, believe a wide range of skills were important. The ranking list was relatively stable when various sub-divisions were created using age, education, gender, managerial style, self-assessed managerial ability, profit objective variations, computer ownership and farm type. This same conclusion applied to all competencies listed below. For the entrepreneurial skills the following list gives the five highest scored competencies: a) understanding deadlines and acting on time, b) an ability to obtain information, c) being able to negotiate the best deal, d) understanding risk and reducing its impact, e) an intuition that gives early warning signs. While not ranked as highly, a factor analysis also showed that learning new skills, anticipation, and a belief that a manager can control many factors are all important components of a kit bag of skills. The most important personal attributes with scores of 6 or more on a 1 to 7 scale, were: a) early observation of important factors, b) an ability to learn from experience, c) developing a good moral character, d) keeping a cool head, e) maintaining a good relationship with bankers and accountants, f) having the confidence to make quick decisions and act, g) obtaining the co-operation of employees and contractors. A three factor correlated grouping of all personal attributes included most of this listed group in factor one. The respondents were also asked to provide information on their managerial style as this could impact on the best training packages, and whether in fact managerial skill can be improved for some styles. A factor analysis of the style components gave the following factors as the main components of style: a) concern for correctness, b) conscientious planning, c) thoughtful creativity, d) enthusiastic communitarian, e) consultative logician, f) benign management. All managers can be grouped according to their rating with respect to each of these factors. A cluster analysis with reasonable numbers in each group gave four relatively distinct clusters. Producers’ objectives may also impact on their interest in managerial training. A factor analysis of a range of scored potential goals or aims structured views into five main objectives: a) making a comfortable living, b) improving the condition of the property, c) ensuring employees enjoy their jobs, d) minimizing pollution, e) maintaining good working conditions. As it turned out a comparison of people with and without a strong sustainable profit motive did not impact on competency groupings or ranking. It was also found that an increasing number of managers use computers with some 55% ownership and that computer-based managerial training modules were the second choice after locally based tutored training programmes. Given the costs involved, computer-based systems are the most practical. Of all the respondents 71% said they would make use of training programmes to a greater or lesser extent. Those requesting training tended to be computer owners, female, younger and had a lower score on the self-rated managerial skill question. Finally, a factor analysis of the most highly ranked competencies from all areas clearly indicated there were three summary factors which express the respondents’ views of the important components of good management. These factors embody: a) good skills in selecting and managing people, b) planning and the successful implementation of the plans and in controlling the implementation through skills such as early observation, c) deciding and acting quickly, d) learning from experience. There are, however, many facets to each of the factors indicating improving managerial skill is probably not a simple and quick operation. On the contrary, it will involve dedication, practice and perseverance.

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  • Managerial competencies in primary production : the view of consultants and other professionals

    Nuthall, P. L.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    Primary production is based on the use of three major resources, land, labour and capital. But the efficiency of the production depends on a fourth critical resource, the skill level of the person making decisions on how the resources should be used (managerial skill). Survey records show there is a very wide range of levels of profitability achieved, presumably due to a wide range in managerial skill levels. Over 1999-2000 return on capital for sheep and cattle farms averaged 2.6% but with a range of -5% to over +9%. These observations lead to the question of whether the general level of managerial skills can be improved through training programmes. To institute such programmes it is necessary to know the important competences (skills) that should be targeted. To obtain the views of consultants and other professionals on important managerial competencies a survey of all members of the NZ Institute of Primary Industry Management was conducted. The mail survey of 708 members obtained 339 useable replies. Respondents were asked to rate the importance of a wide range of competencies grouped into classes termed 'Managerial Attributes', 'Entrepreneurial Skills', and 'Personal Attributes'. In addition, respondents were asked to give details of their interests, age, education, views on farmer computer use and preferable training mechanisms. They were also asked to respond to a group of 25 questions designed to classify their individual management style. An important finding was there was little difference in the respondents' views on important competencies with variations in age, education, farm type interest, style and self-assessed intelligence. The four most important 'Managerial Attributes’ were: a) ability to identify the key factors in a problem, b) effective communication (with employees and contractors), c) being up to date with the current condition of the property (bank balance, animal condition, crop growth, soil moisture), d) assessing job priorities. The four most important 'Entrepreneurial Skills’ were: a) understanding deadlines and being able to ‘act in time’, b) an ability and determination to look/ask/seek out information thought to be necessary for making decisions, c) ability in learning new skills, d) understanding sources of risk and what can be done to reduce its impact. The four most important ‘Personal Attributes’ were: a) early observations of important indicators around the farm (eg lambs are scouring, wheat is infected), b) ability to learn from experience, mistakes and failures, c) developing a ‘good moral character; involving openness, integrity, reliability, and trustworthiness, d) having the confidence to draw conclusions and act quickly and decisively. When the full list of 45 competencies (managerial attributes, entrepreneurial skills and personal attributes) were combined and analysed for correlations it was found that the following groupings formed an important 'kit bag' of attributes: a) understanding deadlines, acting on time and having anticipatory skills, b) obtaining relevant information and recognising problems and opportunities, c) understanding risk and what to do about it, d) identifying key factors, e) understanding how to choose between alternatives and ensuring ALL are considered, f) effective communication and good negotiation skills, g) ability to learn new skills and learn from experience, h) knowing the current state of the property, i) ability to develop long and short term plans, j) an ability to picture the consequences of decisions and to assess job priorities, and k) a belief that the farm is under the manager's control. It would be desirable to develop interactive computer based training packages to assist managers in improving these skills or competencies. The respondents believed farmers would prefer tutor supported locally based competency training programmes. However, this would be a very costly exercise so computer based packages would be more practical (and the second preference). A similar survey of over 700 farmers is currently being analysed to see whether farmers have the same views as the NZIPIM respondents. The two surveys should give a clear indication of the competencies the industry believes are important. In analysing the responses of 25 questions on managerial style it was clear five basic factors could be used to categorise style. These were called 'anxious responsibility', 'careful logician', 'consultative', 'obsessive professionalism' and 'lively professionalism': Everyone will exhibit a degree of each of these characteristics. These characteristics might influence a person's managerial ability and the best competency training methods. As farmers' objectives may impact on appropriate competence and training packages, the respondents were asked to rank a range of statements. The top four were: a) planning for the maximum possible sustainable cash return, b) producing products and using farming systems that the farmer really enjoys being involved with, c) planning for the maximum possible average annual increase in the net value of total assets, d) selecting farming systems that minimise risk. Following the results from the farmers' survey, the next step in the work will involve deciding on the competencies to target in training programmes. This stage will need farmer involvement. The development of the training programmes and their testing for effectiveness will then follow.

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  • New Zealand farm computer users : their maturing attitudes and characteristics

    Nuthall, P. L.; Benbow, C.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    On-farm computing is increasingly becoming an integral part of farm decision systems. To aid the development of appropriate systems and their efficient use it is important to understand the changing farm computing scene. The study reported here contributes to these objectives in the New Zealand case. The situation is likely to be similar to other western countries. The basis of the study was data from a postal survey over summer 1997/98, together with the results from previous similar surveys. The postal survey of 3,021 randomly selected New Zealand primary producers enabled exploring the penetration of on-farm computers and details of their use. The response rate (49.5 %) was exceptional with 1,437 valid replies being received by the mid-April 1998 cut-off date. Computer penetration was 42.72% of the sample compared with 6% in 1986 and 24.40% in 1993. The comguter farms tend to be larger than non-computer farms, the managers tend to have higher levels of formal education, they tend to be younger, and they tend to be involved in more off-farm businesses. From ownership/intended ownership details it appears the uptake rate is probably at a maximum. Computer use is around 20 hours per month with word processing, financial recording and analysis as well as financial budgeting continuing to be the important uses. The farm manager and his or her spouse are the main business use operators (78.5%). Most users (89%) believe a comguter is an economic investment. Of increasing importance is the use of the Internet with some 3 hours/month spent on Intemet access and communication. Currently 28% of computer users have a connection, but a further 40% indicate they will connect in the next two years. E-mail is the main use of the Internet but entertainment and fun as well as technical information gathering are important uses. Some 47% believe the Internet is valuable or better with 37% still being neutral or undecided. Generally, there are few differences when the data is divided by farm type, suggesting most managers view a computer similarly for all production types. Of major significance is the conclusion that computer owners and non-owners are not inherently different in their objectives. While further work on a wider range of variables is necessary, this suggests training programmes and software need not be markedly different for each group.

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  • Organic farming in Thailand : case studies on fruit and flower production in Chiangmai, Thailand

    Dechachete, T.; Nuthall, P. L.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    The purpose of this study was to examine organic horticultural production in Chiangmai, Thailand, through discovering the farmers' objectives, economic performance, as well as elucidating other impacts including social and environmental effects. Interviews and available data were used to gather information from the people in three villages which were selected as case studies. Forty-five farmers from three categories, chemical-free vegetable farming (CFA), mixed agriculture (MA) and conventional agriculture (CA), were interviewed. The 'chemical-free' farming (CFA) was not strictly totally chemical-free, but the intention is to minimise artificial chemical use. The study found that profit maximisation was the first priority in all production categories. Lower CFA production costs were also a reason for farmers to move away from CA. Few farmers seriously realised the social and environmental impacts caused by conventional farming. However, CFA farmers tended to be more concerned about their health and environment than CA farmers. The economic comparisons indicated that the running costs of CFA farming were less than the running costs of CA farming. The economic and the social cost comparison results varied among the research sites. It could not be concluded that the economic and the social costs of CFA farming were less than for CA farming. Nor could it be concluded that CFA farming gains a higher net farm income than CA farming. However, the study suggested that the net farm income of the CFA farms was greater when the CFA farmers could sell their produce at a reasonable price. In one research site, the negative social net farm income finding indicated that the government CFA promotion project had failed. Social comparisons between CFA and CA methods showed CFA results in education and health benefits in comparison to conventional agriculture. Finally, the environmental comparisons found that CFA had beneficial impacts on the farm environment. The farmers realised that the use of artificial agricultural chemicals resulted in decreases in local wildlife quantity and variety, and they actually noted that CFA seemed to have positive effects on these variables.

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  • An expert system for surplus feed allocation

    Bishop-Hurley, G. J.; Nuthall, P. L.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    "The animal grazing industry is a major sector of New Zealand's economy. Managers controlling the utilisation of the nation's massive pasture production tend to make utilisation decisions using experience and intuition in contrast to formal analytical analyses. Yet, when related to the potential, production achieved tends to suggest improvements are possible. That is, greater production is possible with the same resources, or alternatively the same production is possible from a smaller resource input. It appears one of the reasons for the lack of formal planning is the farmers' belief that the work involved is not commensurate with the gains. Thus, if techniques that are simple to use and provide an efficiency gain can be found they clearly have potential. The study discussed in this Report concerns the development of an expert system for a small component of the grazing management problem. It is proposed that such an expert system meets these requirements. This report is one of a series describing several expert systems in the area of grazing management. Another contains an evaluation of these expert systems. An expert system is a set of knowledge and decision rules, usually computer-based for ease of access and retrieval, gleaned from experts (thus the term 'expert system') and made widely available to decision makers so they can gain the benefits of the 'experts"" knowledge and experience. Essentially, creating an expert system involves questioning the experts to find out the factors they observe, and the conclusions they reach given the various values the factors or parameters can take on. This information is then computerised. Grazing management involves many aspects. A single system that would cover all components would be extremely valuable, but it would be unmanageable. Thus, it needs to be broken into practicable sections. Three problems frequently mentioned by farmers are the selection of weaning date, deciding whether to drench, and deciding when to close an area of pasture for conservation. While there are also many others, the importance, in terms of farmers' comments, of these three meant they were selected for study. This Report contains a description of the conservation/surplus expert system."

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  • An expert system for sheep drenching

    Bishop-Hurley, G. J.; Nuthall, P. L.

    Book
    Lincoln University

    The animal grazing industry is a major sector of New Zealand's economy. Managers controlling the utilisation of the nation's massive pasture production tend to make utilisation decisions using experience and intuition in constrast to formal analyses. Yet, when related to the potential, production achieved tends to suggest improvements are possible. That is, greater production is possible with the same resources, or alternatively the same production is possible from a smaller resource input. It appears one of the reasons for the lack of formal planning is the farmers' belief that the work involved is not commensurate with the gains. Thus, if techniques that are simple to use and provide an efficiency gain can be found they clearly have potential. The study reported in this Report concerns the development of an expert system for a small component of the grazing management problem. It is proposed that such an expert system meets these requirements. This report is one of a series describing several expert systems in the area of grazing management. Another contains an evaluation of these expert systems. An expert system is a set of knowledge and decision rules, usually computer-based for ease of access and retrieval, gleaned from experts (thus the term expert system) and made widely available to decision makers so they can gain the benefits of the experts knowledge and experience. Essentially, creating an expert system involves questioning the experts to find out the factors they observe, and the conclusions they reach given the various values the factors or parameters can take on. This information is then computerised. Grazing management involves many aspects. A single system that would cover all components would be extremely valuable, but it would be unmanageable. Thus, it needs to be broken into practicable sections. Three problems frequently mentioned by farmers are the selection of weaning date, deciding whether to drench, and deciding when to close an area of pasture for conservation. While there are also many others, the importance, in terms of farmers' comments, of these three meant they were selected for study. This Report contains a description of the drenching expert system. Drenching practice has been an area of scientific study. Consequently, there is a body of research available to form an underpinning for advisers. One of the experts that needs consulting is this body of research. From the literature the set of important factors was isolated, and the rules on whether to drench a group of ewes or lambs for each set of values was isolated. These if-then rules were then presented to a committee of animal science and veterinary experts, as well as an experienced farm consultant, for review.

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