No 3/2016, September

“Feed Assist”- An Expert System on Balanced Feeding for Dairy Animals


Inadequate feeding is the major factor for low livestock productivity in India. In dairying, feed cost is a major input and feeding practices has to be improved to ensure profits. Still the small scale farmers are following traditional feeding practices and fail to address the complexities involved in ration formulation. To address the complexities in ration balancing based on the nutrient requirements for different categories of livestock, nutrient composition of wide range of feed resources and the cost - a number of expert systems have been developed. However existing expert systems have not been widely used by majority of small farmers due to lack of awareness, access and basic skills required to operate. To address these limitations, “Feed Assist” a farmer friendly expert system for balanced feeding of dairy animals at least cost has been developed using linear programming. “Feed Assist” does not require much expertise to operate and enables the farmers to formulate least cost rations for different categories of livestock using locally available feed resources.

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Smallholder Maize Farmers’ Food Consumption Expenditures in Ghana: The Mediating Role of Commercialization


This paper examines the effect of smallholder maize farmers’ commercialization on their household food consumption expenditures in Ghana using data from the Ghana Living Standard Survey Round Five (GLSS5). The results indicate that the intensity of smallholder maize commercialization is generally low and that better output price, quantity of maize produced, farm size, type of market or point of sale, access to mobile phone network coverage, proportion of crops given to landlord, instant payment for maize sold, are inter alia key incentive variables that influence the intensity of maize commercialization. The study also revealed that intensity of maize commercialization positively influenced food consumption expenditures. Increases in the sale of maize results in increases in purchases of food items needed to address household food security needs. These findings demonstrate the urgent need to strengthen smallholder market integration initiatives, encourage market information delivery systems, and establish more retail outlets with improved market facilities in order to promote production and trade in high value cereals such as maize in Ghana.

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Technical Efficiency and Technology Gap in Indonesian Rice Farming


This study aims to estimate the technical efficiency and technology gap in Indonesian rice farming, and analyze its determinants. An analysis of DEA Metafrontier and Tobit regression was applied respectively for the first and second objective. The data is based on farm level data of fifteen rice–producing provinces in Indonesia. The result showed that the technical efficiency based on metafrontier estimation is slightly lower than the technical efficiency based on regional frontier estimation, indicating the existence of technology gap which is quite small. Net income, education, and irrigated rice field found related to the technical efficiency and technology gap. Meanwhile, the effect of other factors on the technical efficiency and technology gap is ambiguous. Hence, this study suggests that these three factors should be considered in the policy to increase technical efficiency and to reduce the technology gap in Indonesian rice farming.

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Trade Impacts of Selected Free Trade Agreements on Agriculture: The Case of Selected North African Countries


The objective of the study is to examine the impact of free trade agreements (FTA) with agricultural trade flow in general and dairy, vegetable, live animals, meat and sugar in particular. To achieve the objective the paper employs gravity model through compiling panel data. The study focuses on selected North African countries (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia) as reporting countries and the rest of the world as partner countries. Accordingly, the study finds that being a member of trade agreement (FTA) is positively associated with aggregate agricultural trade flow. In fact, trade agreement could increase agricultural trade flow by around 39 percent in trade volume (USD). Further, the study finds the potential of trade creation. In fact, the trade agreement with EU created a market for former Soviet countries (Latvia and Lithuania). Notably, due to the trade accord, the countries start exporting commodities such dairy and vegetable products. However, despite the results, the disaggregate agriculture fails to have a similar association. For instance, vegetable trade flow is positively influenced by FTA while live animals trade is affected negatively by FTA. Therefore, it requires vigilance when making a conclusion regarding the effect of FTA on disaggregates agriculture trade flow.

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Variational Online Budgeting Taking into Account the Priorities of Expense Items


The paper describes the methodology of variational interval budgeting in a system with hierarchical structure of expense items. The priorities of expense items can be specified at any level of hierarchy. To account for the actually existing information incompleteness, the methodology provides the ability to input data and receive the results as numeric segments. The ability to clarify the budget plan in the course of its implementation is also provided. The article presents main characteristics of the working online service “Cost Planning” and example of the farm budget planning.

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Analysis of Open Data Availability in Czech Republic Agrarian Sector


In the agrarian sector several tens of billions Czech crowns of state and European aid is redistributed annually. The openness of related data and any other that can support economic stability and competitiveness of Czech agrarian sector is a challenge not only for officials but also for research and non-profit sector.In order to determine the current state of availability of open data in agrarian sector 10 departmental institutions have been selected, which are the main producers of agricultural data in the Czech Republic, along with the CZSO (Czech Statistical Office) which is another significant source of agricultural data. The evaluation took place in the first quarter of 2016. The result is a statement that data in formats that allow further processing is published only by two out of ten surveyed departmental organizations. A similar situation prevails in the National Catalog of Open Data where there is no data coming from regarding the agricultural sector.It is proven that making the data open can bring benefits to both farmers themselves, end consumers and other commercial entities. On the other hand, it is necessary to ensure the safety of data providers, data creators and in turn, the national security.

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Identification of Business Informatics Specifics in Agricultural Enterprises


Presented paper deals with analysis and identification of business informatics specifics in agricultural enterprises in the Czech Republic farming at land of size up to 500 hectares. The study is based on thorough review of literature about latest issues in agriculture business informatics. There is a follow up to certain results of previous research on business informatics in agriculture that was conducted by authors in 2013. The analysis has brought findings that business informatics has several peculiarities that must be regarded in informatics implementation and innovation. Those are common economic and organisational effects and further aspects typical for the agriculture such as climate, local conditions and seasonal nature of production.

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Firm Size as a Determinant of Firm Performance: The Case of Swine Raising


The aim of the paper is to evaluate the effect of firm size to the economic performance of firm belonging to the raising of swine sector (CZ-NACE 01.460). The economic performance is assessed using multiple- criteria evaluation of alternatives methods where the selected coefficients of the profitability ratios, labour productivity and operating ratio are used as the indicator of economic performance. To assess the relationship between firm size and firm performance, the linear regression model is used. The study uses data collected from the database Albertina CZ Gold Edition for the year 2013 that are provided by Bisnode company and from Business Register. The results showed that the larger firms reached higher economic performance compared with smaller ones. These finding indicates that economies of scale are likely to play an important role in sector of raising swine.

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Estimation of Barley (Hordeum Vulgare L.) Crop Water Requirements Using Cropwat Software in Ksar-Chellala Region, Algeria


This paper estimates the reference Evapotranspiration (ET0) and Water requirements of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) in Ksar-Chellala region, Algeria, for one dry year by using CROPWAT software. Determination of Evapotranspiration (ET) is important in application such as irrigation design, irrigation scheduling, water resource management, hydrology and cropping systems modeling. Estimation of crop water requirements of barley (CWRb) respected the methodology adopted by the service of development and management service of FAO, based on the use of software CROPWAT 8.0. The total water requirements for barley depend on a variety of target yields and crops management. The period of climatic data used is 23 years (1990-2012), the average rain in this period is 254 mm. The total rain of the dry year is 190 mm. The results of this study show, during the vegetative cycle of barley which is 6 months, the calculation of ET0 is 453 mm, the potential water which was used by the crop barley is estimated at 281.4 mm, the efficiency of rainfall is 69 mm and a total water requirements of barley (CWRb) equals to 211 mm, this amount distributed on three months coincided with important stages of development in barley. The supplementary irrigation in these conditions with optimal contents equals water requirements estimated by CROPWAT software that increases significantly grain yield of barely. Consequently, the gross irrigation water requirements (GIWR) of 1250000 ha which project to grow barley in the Algerian steppes regions are estimated at 3.77 billion and this for a dry year and a irrigation efficiency of 70%.

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Economic Valuation of Mountain Landscapes and Ecosystems: A Meta-Analysis of Case Studies


The paper is focused on the value of the European mountain landscape/ecosystem and evaluates the impact of agriculture and agricultural policy on the value of this public good. Based on the meta-analysis of 22 landscape/ecosystem valuation studies, it was found that the average value of the European mountain landscape/ecosystem is 3,068 EUR per hectare per year, and 3.91 EUR per person per day. However, there are regions with a significantly higher value – Tatra in Poland and Alpujarran in Spain. The value is influenced by the position of agriculture in the national economy. Higher values of the mountain landscape/ ecosystem were achieved in countries where the contribution of agriculture to the gross value added is above average. On the other hand, there is no significant relationship between the proportion of farming in the LFA and the value of the mountain landscape/ecosystem. Public support was found to be insufficient to cover the cost of landscape services performed by farmers.

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