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Fifty Years of Farm Management in Australia: Survey and Review

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  • Malcolm, Bill
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    Abstract

    Fifty years of Australian academic literature about farm management is surveyed and reviewed chronologically and methodologically. Farm management started as a field of academic inquiry during the 1940s, and at the end of the first decade most of the major emphases which were to predominate over the ensuing decades had made their debut in the literature. Major emphases over the fifty years have been records and accounts, production economic thinking, linear programming, decision theory and systems simulation approaches. Overtime came increasing doubt about the usefulness of each of these emphases, and in the 1980s journal writings about farm management declined greatly. Much academic work about farm management during the past fifty years lacked relevance because of a 'partial-farm management' orientation. This derives in part from a methodological focus which is too narrowly disciplinary, and insufficiently dynamic, and also from the imperative of specialisation for progress to be made in particular disciplines. The human element, the technology, the financial and taxation aspects, the dynamic, complex and uncertain nature of farming, factors beyond the farm gate, the processes of farm management, and the need for sound judgements about 'the numbers' are more important aspects of farm management than was implied by the emphases on records, production economics, optimal plans, quantitative decision analysis and systems modelling. The balance of the emphases on the various disciplines has to be appropriate for work in farm management to be relevant to problem solving. The traditional, relatively simple, farm management budgets have stood up well to tests of time because they enable the full dimensions of the problem to be brought into consideration. Further the computer spreadsheet has enhanced the analytical power and problem solving relevance of the traditional farm management budgets. Thus there is plenty to be going on with.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society in its journal Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics.

    Volume (Year): 58 (1990)
    Issue (Month): 01 (April)
    Pages:

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    Handle: RePEc:ags:remaae:12283

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    Keywords: Farm Management;

    References

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    Cited by:
    1. McGregor, Murray J. & Rola-Rubzen, Maria Fay & Murray-Prior, Roy B. & Dymond, John & Bent, Martin J.M., 2003. "Farm Management - Bugger the roots, where is the future?," 2003 Conference (47th), February 12-14, 2003, Fremantle, Australia 57923, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    2. Trapnell, Lindsay N. & Malcolm, Bill, 2008. "Net Benefits from growing lucerne (Medicago sativa) on the Broken Plains of north eastern Victoria," 2008 Conference (52nd), February 5-8, 2008, Canberra, Australia 5972, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    3. Singh, Rajinder Pal & Brennan, John P. & Lacy, John & Steel, Felicity, 2005. "An Assessment of the Economic, Environmental and Social Impacts of the Ricecheck Program," Research Reports 42652, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries Research Economists.
    4. Crosthwaite, Jim, 2003. "Whole farm considerations in the design of management agreements," 2003 Conference (47th), February 12-14, 2003, Fremantle, Australia 57857, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    5. Keating, B. A. & McCown, R. L., 2001. "Advances in farming systems analysis and intervention," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 70(2-3), pages 555-579.
    6. Chudleigh, Fred & Cox, Howard W. & Chapman, Veronica J., 2002. "Modelling profitable and sustainable farming systems in Central Queensland," 2002 Conference (46th), February 13-15, 2002, Canberra 125070, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    7. Swinton, Scott M. & Black, J. Roy, 2000. "Modeling Of Agricultural Systems," Staff Papers 11581, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    8. Nguyen, Nam C. & Wegener, Malcolm K. & Russell, Iean W., 2007. "Decision support systems in Australian agriculture: state of the art and future development," AFBM Journal, Australasian Farm Business Management Network, vol. 4(1/2).
    9. Nuthall, Peter L., 1999. "Managerial Ability (The Forgotten Resource) Its Assessment And Modification," 1999 Conference (43th), January 20-22, 1999, Christchurch, New Zealand 124495, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.

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