SIZE-ASSESSMENTS IN GOAT PRODUCTION
WITH THE HELP OF LINEAR PROGRAMMING
Gödöll University of Economic Sciences
It might seem old-fashioned to apply linear programming (LP) when more up-to-date models suitable for exploring more complex relations exist. Although in Hungarian agriculture this method for planning was used in the 1970s, because of its improper application it did not spread. In my view, this planning, decision-supporting method can play an important role in extension service again. If a certain problem is exact enough and can be described, this method can become a means providing qualified extensionists with relatively easy and fast help in specific cases. Producing primary as well as dual solutions, and performing the possible analysis by the means of the given software (analysing program), we can gain extremely useful information. This information refers to the internal relations of the given economic or planning problem, and information is provided concerning the comparison of the economic environment.
I managed to get information from several places in order to develop the specific model, which helped to support the data in the model and the technical-technological coefficients. This is of high importance, because one of the foundations of linear programming is to determine the data and the coefficients as precisely as possible, since the inclusion of the activities is done by the coefficient of the function. The data was gathered partly from the Józsefmajor Farm of the Gödöll University of Economic Sciences, and partly from the results of the survey on family farms conducted by ACDI/VOCA (Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance). The surveys, the data collection and the development of the model took place as follows:
· determining the specific problem:
1. preparation of a situation report (including the internal and external characteristics of a farm and the information on production)
2. development of a draft concept (the decision-makers' concepts concerning the given farm are included)
3. preparation of technological plans (concerning crop production as well as animal husbandry)
· determining the structure of the model, with the help of which the actual model can be developed
· solving the model
· checking the solution
· conducting analysis
· drawing conclusions concerning the given problem
When analysing the specific cases and constructing the models, I aimed at developing an LP model which can be easily adapted for the specific cases. I did not intend to exclude the possibility of including additional activities (e.g. using temporary workforce, etc., as my aim was to study family farms). These results formed the basis of the extension program which manages the specific problem dynamically and in a more detailed way than the LP. As a result of the joint efforts of ACDI/VOCA, the Research Institute for Animal Breeding and Nutrition, Herceghalom and Awassi Inc.., this extension program became part of the comprehensive information and extension system of the sector, which has been loaded on CD. This way it will be possible to keep track of the specific changes occurring in the course of the year. Using the results of the LP solution the extension program also attains results faster than using solely empirical data.
To summarize, a general linear program has been developed based on the specific cases. By the means of this model, the decision-maker will receive general guidance on his/her farm, i.e. he/she prepares for his/her decisions and these decisions are well-founded. In my opinion, the decision options prepared by this method must be considered as guidance during the actual extension work.