Agriculture and Food Systems - Theses

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    An evaluation of management by objectives as a planning system in a government veterinary service
    Wroth, Robert Harold ( 197-?)
    The need, for field officers, of State Departments of Agriculture to plan their work has been recognized for many years. In the last 10 years particular attention has been paid to program planning by Extension officers. However, it has become apparent that program planning is not being used effectively. Reasons for this range from the lack of defined organizational objectives to difficulties associated with planning at the individual level. The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility of introducing MBO into a Department of Agriculture and its effectiveness in overcoming planning difficulties. In order to test this a MBO system was used to plan for the eradication of bovine Brucellosis by two country regions of the Division of Animal Health in the Victorian Department of Agriculture. Two other regions acted as controls and prepared plans without MBO. The effectiveness of MBO was evaluated on the criteria of involvement and participation of field officers, their job satisfaction, job dissatisfaction, understanding of the plans and the MBO process and the importance of aspects for planning. The major finding was the difference in response of Officers at higher and lower levels of authority and responsibility. Those at higher levels viewed MBO more favourably than those at lower levels, and consequently considered they had significantly more involvement and participation than previously. The study also highlighted deficiencies that existed, such as confusion as to lines of responsibility and lack of two way communication between Regional and Head Office staff, and showed how this can lead to increased job dissatisfaction. The work to be performed was not seen as personally satisfying, thus lowering job satisfaction, and so reduced the apparent success of MBO. However, the overall conclusion was that MBO was a realistic system to use for planning by Department of Agriculture personnel and that it did overcome problems associated with program planning. General and specific recommendations on the use of MBO are made.
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    Beef-cattle production in the Western District of Victoria : technical and economic relationships between beef cattle and sheep
    Wills, I. R ( 1965)
    Sheep-and-wool production and beef-cattle production are combined on many grazing properties in the Western District of Victoria. In the past beef cattle have generally been regarded as less profitable than sheep as a sole enterprise on a per-acre basis. In previous surveys it has been found that graziers believe that sheep and beef-cattle complement one another in a variety of circumstances because of the different effects of the two types of animal on pasture. It has also been found that sheep and beef cattle on grazing properties are frequently supplementary with respect to labour. The thesis has two main objectives. First it investigates whether the currently available analytical models based on static economic theory are adequate to solve problems of resource allocation between sheep and beef cattle grazing the same pasture. Second, it investigates whether many graziers carry beef cattle partly or solely to satisfy goals other than profit maximisation. The method of achieving the first objective was to compare the static economic theory relating to enterprise combination, and published work dealing with the problem of selecting the optimum combination of two enterprises, with the real situation existing on grazing properties carrying both sheep and beef cattle. The second objective was investigated by means or an interview survey of graziers running both sheep and beef cattle in six Western District parishes. A considerable amount of technical information about beef-cattle production in the Western District was collected in the course of the survey, and the more important points are summarised in the thesis. Of particular interest are the findings that very few graziers purchased cattle for fattening purposes, and that beef cattle were relatively more important on large properties than on small properties. It was concluded that static economic theory does not provide an adequate basis for the description of the situation where sheep and cattle graze the same pasture, or for the determination of the optimum allocation of resources between sheep arid beef cattle grazing together. Sheep and cattle graze pasture differently, and therefore different pastures result as the sheep-cattle ratio is altered. In this situation, the postulates on which the iso-resource function is based, that the shared input or inputs should remain homogeneous and constant in quantity as the outputs of the products change, are violated. Thus strictly speaking it is not possible to derive a valid iso-resource function relating the sheep and beef-cattle enterprises with respect to pasture when the sheep and the cattle graze the same pasture. However, if the changes in the pasture are disregarded, it is possible to design experiments to produce practical approximations of iso-resource curves relating sheep and beef cattle. Information obtained from graziers in this and other surveys, and the results of experiments, strongly suggest that for practical purposes it is reasonable to think of an iso-resource curve for sheep and cattle with respect to pasture as being concave towards the origin, that is, the sacrifice rate of sheep for cattle increases as more cattle are added on a sheep property. Farmer estimates and experimental evidence suggests that the marginal sacrifice rate on most properties may be lower than is generally assumed (nutritional standards imply a linear rate of eight merino whethers per 1,000 lb. steer). Almost all the survey graziers believed that the overall relationship between their sheep and their beef cattle with respect to their total feed supply over the whole year was a competitive one. Most estimated that their sheep and their cattle were complementary or supplementary with respect to pasture over a part of the year, including the Spring, and that their sheep and their cattle competed for scarce pasture at some time in the autumn and winter. The survey results showed that the most important reason for the presence of beef cattle on the survey properties was the value of cattle in controlling and utilising pasture and weed growth. However the value 0f cattle for that purpose appeared to decline as the sheep stocking rate increased. It appeared that on many properties the importance of beef cattle in pasture control was a consequence of a desire on the part of the grazier to maximise profits within the restrictions imposed by limitations on sheep numbers including the grazier's desire to limit his personal effort. Beef cattle were also frequently carried for the reason that they provided a means of stabilising income from year to year. Although the survey results tended to confirm previous findings that sheep and beef cattle are supplementary with respect to labour at certain times during the year, and that beef cattle generally require less labour per unit of return than sheep, few graziers said that they carried beef cattle for those reasons. It was concluded that substantial minority of the survey graziers did carry beef cattle partly or solely to satisfy goals other than profit maximisation. The most important of these goals was the minimisation of personal effort, which was shown not by giving labour as a reason for carrying beef cattle, but indirectly in the affirmation of the value of cattle (rather than additional sheep) in pasture control. A few graziers were motivated by a personal preference for beef cattle. In the situation where the available economic theory is inadequate to solve problems of resource allocation between sheep and beef cattle, and where a substantial proportion of graziers carry beef cattle partly or solely for reasons other than profit maximisation, there is little scope for sophisticated economic procedures. Given additional experimental data to provide indicators of probable "substitution rates", it seems that the allocation of resources between sheep and beef cattle on properties such as those in the survey can best be improved by budgeting possible adjustments.
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    Quality of potatoes for processing
    Wilcox, Andrea M ( 1966)
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    Rural credit and farm viability : a study of the Shelford soldier settlement scheme
    Vincent, David P ( 1973)
    The accelerated fall in wool prices towards the end of the 1960's precipitated the emergence of a financial crisis in the sheep industry with high farm debts and low farm incomes. The subject of rural credit, which had provoked only minor discussion throughout the buoyant income periods of the 1950's and 1960's, became increasingly debated by farm leaders who challenged the suitability of the existing credit market to meet the increasing capital needs of the rural sector. Since the implementation of the rural reconstruction scheme in 1971 which provides assistance for a limited number of unviable farmers, farmer demands for more general concessional credit facilities have intensified. Recently, following submissions by several farmer organizations to the Government for assistance, the subject of rural credit has rapidly developed into a political issue. This thesis is a study of farm indebtedness and the rural credit market in a woolgrowing community of soldier settlers in the Leigh Shire of the Victorian Western District. The area was chosen because it was thought that the settlers, hard hit by the 1967-68 drought, and heavily dependent on the profitability of woolgrowing, would be suffering severe financial problems. The economic analysis was restricted by the lack of suitable empirical data. The original survey data, collected by the Agricultural Extension Section of the University by personal interviews with farmers, did not include farm costs or inventory levels. Because this was a pilot study, the data was cross-sectional, referring only to the survey year. Before proceeding with the analysis, it was necessary to obtain additional financial information from the taxation records of co-operating farmers. The thesis was written before but submitted after the release of a Bureau of Agricultural Economics report (B.A.E. 1972) advising the Government on the adequacy of existing credit facilities. Consequently, no reference has been made elsewhere in the thesis to this report. The thesis is organized as follows. Chapters 1 and 2 provide a general introduction to farmers' borrowing behaviour, the existing rural credit market, and the debt position of the rural sector, especially the sheep industry. In chapter 3, the Shelford settlement is discussed with emphasis on the debt position of Shelford farmers and their use of credit facilities. In chapter 4, an attempt is made to relate the financial position of farmers to their physical resource levels and social characteristics. The variance in debt and income are analysed. Chapter 5 contains a discussion of some past influences on the current debt position, especially the 1967-68 drought. In chapter 6, the present and future prospects of farm financial viability are studied. Some commonly used indicators of viability are evaluated within the Shelford context. The dependence of settlers on short term lenders and the future role these lenders are likely to play at Shelford and elsewhere are discussed in chapter 7. Finally in chapter 8, the role of credit in agricultural adjustment is discussed. A solution for unviable Shelford farmers is proposed and some brief comments on the shortcomings of the present credit market are advanced. Conclusions are presented throughout the thesis, and chapter 7 and 8 form a summary of the rural credit situation in general and at Shelford.
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