The section of British Agriculture for which farm amalgamation may be an economic necessity is examined, and the incidence of and rate of farm
amalgamation since 1875 is demonstrated. It is suggested that the effects
of farm amalgamation are similar to the effects of a change in the scale of
farming and evidence relating to the economies and diseconomies of scale is
examined. Action by official bodies to reduce the number of uneconomic farms,
and by farmers to obtain the advantages of larger size without increasing the
size of farms, is discussed.
The farms used in the investigation, the area in which they lie, the
climate and the type of farming, are described. The general method of
investigation and the requirements to be met in constructing the planning model
are discussed, and the effect on farm planning solutions of ignoring factors
which in practice affect decision making, is demonstrated.
Work on improving the available linear programming program to obtain the
required output, to improve data input and to obtain greater speed and
flexibility in computation, is described. The construction of the matrix
comprising the planning model is outlined, with fuller discussion of three areas
- the representation of working capital, regular labour and farm machinery
selection. The calculation of labour supply involved an assessment of the
effect of weather on the time available for farm work. The method of assessment,
and the effect of applying the resulting criteria to meteorological data recorded
in three areas, have been described in published articles which are reproduced
The results of the investigation are presented with the intention of
providing two types of comparison - the effect on the individual farms of
various planning assumptions, and the effect on the 2811 acre block of land of
farming it as six units or as one farm, again subject to various assumptions.
Comparisons are shown to indicate the effects of introducing dairying, of
having limited or unlimited availability of capital, and of using high output
equipment on the amalgamated unit.
The possible effect of the current system of taxation on the gross profits
derived from the individual farms and from the amalgamated unit is investigated,
in order to provide a comparison of the net spendable incomes available to
It is concluded that the minimum cross profit improvement obtainable by
amalgamation of these particular farms is insufficient to offset the taxation
disadvantage to which the single unit business could be subject, but that in
practice the gross profit advantage of amalgamation would depend upon the
farming and business ability of the people, involved and their command of capital,
both as individuals .and as a group. Possible managerial and business
expansion advantages, and social advantages and disadvantages, are outlined.