The cost implications of technology options for winter cereal production systems in the Swartland

Bruce, Soren Kegan Paul (2017-03)

Thesis (MScAgric)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Global population growth has placed pressure on commercial agriculture to increase food supply, in an environmentally manner. While producers are faced with an increasing cost-price squeeze. Precision agriculture (PA), is emerging as one of the most sustainable agricultural production practices. Revolutionary technological developments have allowed producers to intensify agricultural mechanisation and increase field sizes, by responding to spatial and temporal variations that exist within fields. PA offers a practical, economic and environmental solutions. Increased yields, reduced input costs and more efficient operation times, result in higher profitability. PA has been adopted by a number of commercial grain producers in the Western Cape, to varying degrees and for a number of reasons. Adoption has taken place despite the absence of any policy support framework directed at PA, therefore, has been market driven. Benefits of PA are well documented, while, the financial implications that these benefits have on the farming operation are not. The study utilises primary, trial, and secondary data to analyse the financial implications of various production methods over an extended period. Farm systems are complex, consisting of numerous interrelated components. A whole-farm budget model is developed within a systems approach to measure the impact that improved technologies have on a production system. A trustworthy whole-farm model providing an accurate representation of a real-life farm requires insight across many scientific disciplines. Multidisciplinary approach is used to bridge the gap between practical, on farm, and scientific knowledge. To serve as a basis for comparison, the whole-farm model was based on a conventional typical farm within the Middle Swartland, relative homogeneous farming area. Trial data on systems from Langgewens experimental farm served as starting point for the research. The data was fitted for use in financial analysis and as input to the typical farm model. A key role of the inter-disciplinary approach was to ensure that data and the model design accurately reflect a PA system with its key underlying processes. The financial evaluation of the various production systems showed that conventional agricultural practices, soil tillage and uniform input application, are financially constrained. Conventional practices have high mechanical costs per hectare and are vulnerable to input price fluctuations. PA reduced the mechanical costs of production per hectare, resulting in a more resilient farm operation. Modern production systems, in the long-run, were more resilient to the cost-price squeeze than conventional systems.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Wereldwye populasie groei plaas druk op landbou om voedsel aanbod te verhoog op ‘n omgewingsvriendelike manier. Terselfdertyd konfronteer ʼn toenemende koste-prys druk produsente. Presisie boerdery (PB), ontluik as een van die mees volhoubare landbouproduksiestelsels. Revolusionere tegnologiese ontwikkelinge het produsente toegelaat om landbou-meganisasie te intensiveer op groter oppervlaktes deur te reageer op ruimtelike en temporele variasie wat binne landerye voorkom. PB bied ʼn praktiese, ekonomiese en omgewingsvriendelike oplossing. Verhoogde opbrengs, verlaagde insetkoste, meer doeltreffende bewerkingsperiodes veroorsaak beter winsgewendheid. PB is aangeneem deur ‘n aantal kommersiele graanprodusente in die Wes-Kaap. Hierdie aanname het plaasgevind ten spyte van die afwesigheid van beleidsondersteuning. Die voordele van PB is goed geboekstaaf, maar die finansiele betekenis van die voordele is tans steeds redelik onduidelik. Hierdie studie gebruik proefdata as basis om die finansiele implikasies van verskillende produksie praktyke te evalueer oor ‘n langer termyn. Boerdery stelsels is kompleks en bestaan uit verkillende komponente en gepaardgaande interverwantskappe. ‘n Geheelplaas begrotingsmodel is binne ‘n stelselsbenadering ontwikkel om die impak van verbeterde tegnologie te bepaal. ‘n Geloofwaardige geheelplaas model wat ‘n akkurate refleksie van ‘n werklike plaas verskaf vereis insig vanuit verskillende wetenskaplike dissiplines. ‘n Multidissiplinere benadering is gebruik om die gaping te oorbrug tussen wetenskaplike kennis. Om as basis vir vergelyking te dien is die tipiese plaas baseer op ‘n konvensionele plaas vir die Middel Swartland. Proefdata van stelsels van die Langgewens Proefplaas het gedien as vertrekpunt vir die navorsing. Die data is pasgemaak vir gebruik in die finansiele analise en as inset in die geheel plaas model. ‘n Kern rol van ‘n multidissiplinere benadering was om te verseker dat die data en die model die onderliggende konsep van presisie boerdery akkuraat reflekteer. Die finansiele evaluasie van die verskillende produksiestelsels het gewys dat konvensionele produksiepraktyke, grondbewerking en uniforme bemesting finansiele beperking meebring. Konvensionele praktyke se meganiesekoste per hektaar is hoog en is blootgestel aan insetkoste fluktuasies. Presisieboerdery verminder die meganisasiekoste per hektaar wat ‘n meer lewenskragtige stelsel tot gevolg het. Moderne produksiestelsel is oor die langtermyn meer bestand teen die koste-prys knyptang in vergelyking met konvensionele stelsels.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100960
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