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How do you graph a fruit tree that has been growing for 60 years? Simple: Hold a ruler in the center of the tree and start your measurements at 1cm to the right and 1cm to the left. The diameter of the tree is at those same positions. Measure every year for the rest of your life and every year you will have the diameter of the tree. That is one unique example of correlation and causation. The real question is: why would we do this?
Simple answers in agriculture come easy. For example, we can monitor crop yields in terms of percentages for the whole season. Obviously, this is important because low yields mean lower profits and losses. If it was just rainfall or even some of the other factors like temperature or humidity, it is a difficult measurement.
With that in mind, we can now move towards any real situation in agriculture. We know that if we are going to continue the existing production, we have to increase the efficiency. That means developing crops which require less inputs. Unfortunately, many people in agriculture look at these people in the natural world with envy and wonder how they do it without us.
With that in mind, the growth of the fruit tree is fairly easy to measure. So, if you are going to increase efficiency in your fields, you can use the common metric system. For a hectare, you have four meters (that's roughly one acre), and one meter means 1cm. Simply put, one metric hectare (1m) means 10cm of tree diameter.
Keep that in mind and the below example will become clear.
Now, let's say you want to get 5% yield per hectare, you need to grow a tree that is at least 14 cm. In five years, you will be able to measure the size of your tree. If you grow that tree for 10 years and you measure it every year, you will get the diameter (the natural metric system of farming, so there is no measure without a name!).
So, here are two questions.
If you have no prior experience, how long will it take to get a commercial plot of one hectare (or 10 acres) if you only grow the most profitable fruit tree (the thickest and largest) and you start from zero and have a budget of 100 euros per hectare.
If you are experienced, how long do you need to get the average yield per hectare?
In this study, we investigated to what extent a production profile is associated with a farmer's growth in the market of vegetables, vegetables, and fruit trees. This study was limited to single plots that were cultivated and harvested for a certain period of time. The growers participated in a conventional competition of vegetable production in all German Federal States, with emphasis on organic cultivation. The study covers the period from 2003 to 2008. It was intended to collect data from the entire market of vegetable production in Germany. We specifically focused on those plots that had significant growth in the market and specifically asked those growers to provide the corresponding production profile, that is, the quantities grown, cultivated, harvested, and sold during this period. In total, data from 74 plots were analyzed.
The data were based on harvest records provided by growers as well as log books from vegetable auctions and a direct information questionnaires. The datasets include the following information.
[Tab. 4.5] Plot specific variables and measurements, depending on the target variable.
It turned out that on average, this study only covers small or medium-size growers.
In Germany, there are different notions for "big" and "small" farms. There is the farm population. There is the size of the farm that is set to register in the Federal Register of Agriculture. There is the size of the farm according to Germany's Federal Statistical Office. These estimates vary significantly in time. For example, the USDA lists large- and small-sized farms in the United States. Interestingly, they did not use some of the definitions that are common in Germany.
This is why I was curious to see to what extent these estimates are associated with any growth in the market, especially in the face of rising farm costs. In this study, we explicitly looked at the German Federal Register of Agriculture and the USDA estimates and how they affected the data.
The results were that it varies a lot and there is no clear trend to any of the measures. For example, most of the growers using USDA estimates had smaller farms and a lot of them operated on very small farms. Most of the growers using the data from the Federal Register of Agriculture had larger farms and more of them were located in big cities.
In Germany, any new farmer is obliged to pass an additional certification program called "Weiterbildung". During this period, he or she is generally enrolled in school and is basically given basic education in food production.
However, this is not just a general education. It is possible to get a "Weiterbildung" for quite specific topics. This means that it is possible to learn production methods such as organic, cultivation techniques, even more specific topics such as the production of onions.
To which extent does this basic training help to improve a farmer's performance?
Figure 4.1 shows the results for the percent of farmers in which a higher education leads to improved performance.
The highest numbers were found for the Weiterbildung for the crop of potatoes (15%). Interestingly, only few growers enrolled in the same Weiterbildung have more than one hectare. Farmers who did not