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Fifty Years of Farm Management in Australia: Survey and Review

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  • Malcolm, Bill

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Malcolm, Bill, 1990. "Fifty Years of Farm Management in Australia: Survey and Review," Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 58(01), April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:remaae:12283
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Nuthall, P.L., 2001. "Managerial ability - a review of its basis and potential improvement using psychological concepts," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 24(3), March.
    3. Keating, B. A. & McCown, R. L., 2001. "Advances in farming systems analysis and intervention," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 70(2-3), pages 555-579.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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).
    7. Wegener, Malcolm Keith, 1995. "Modelling studies in the Australian sugar industry," Dissertations-Doctoral 253208, AgEcon Search.
    8. Doole, Graeme J. & Pannell, David J., 2013. "A process for the development and application of simulation models in applied economics," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 57(1), March.
    9. Swinton, Scott M. & Black, J. Roy, 2000. "Modeling Of Agricultural Systems," Staff Papers 11581, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Trapnell, Lindsay & Malcolm, Bill, 2014. "Expected benefits on and off farm from including lucerne (Medicago sativa) in crop rotations on the Broken Plains of north-eastern Victoria," AFBM Journal, Australasian Farm Business Management Network, vol. 11.
    14. McCown, R. L., 2002. "Changing systems for supporting farmers' decisions: problems, paradigms, and prospects," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 179-220, October.
    15. Nuthall, P. L., 2001. "Managerial ability -- a review of its basis and potential improvement using psychological concepts," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 24(3), pages 247-262, March.
    16. Schilizzi, Steven G. M. & Boulier, Fabien, 1997. "`Why do farmers do it?' Validating whole-farm models," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 477-499, August.

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