The Lothians of Scotland are generally farmed intensive- ly, with arable farming predominating in the more easterly regions. Potatoes form an integral part of the cropping pat- tern with sugar beets and turnips somewhat less widely grown. Wheat and barley are the principal cereal crops. Grass is in- cluded in the rotation on practically every farm. The returns from cropping are usually complemented by returns from the production of beef cattle. Farmers of the area usually have one or more beef cattle enterprises, frequently with emphasis on fattening cattle for slaughter.
The farming pattern, with emphasis on potato production, requires a substantial labour force, measured on an "acres per man" basis, as compared to less intensively farmed areas such as the unirrigated portions of Alberta. The availability of this labour force during non -critical seasons might be expect- ed to result in a level of mechanization differing from that developed for less intensively farmed areas. For field work, a larger number of smaller capacity machines might be expected, and for cattle feeding a lower level of mechanization might be expected. Despite these expectations there is a keen interest in highly mechanized processes. This is particularly evident in processes associated with cattle production.
This intensive, well integrated pattern of agriculture offers a challenging application for linear programming as a management aid. In addition, the interaction between cropping practise, manpower availability, and level of mechanization, particularly with respect to beef cattle feeding, offers an excellent medium for the extension of linear programming into the fixed -cost sector of farm business.
Tabulated, the objectives of the research leading to the preparation of this thesis were to:
1) Investigate the application of linear programming as an aid to farm planning in the Lothians.
2) Complementary to this objective, to assess the availability and suitability of Scottish agri- culture research data for the preparation of linear programmes.
3) The development of extensions to linear programming to permit the analysis of any mechanized activity in full economic association with other farm activities.
4) An investigation of the use of linear programming, with extensions, as a method for determining the optimum levels of mechanization for beef cattle feeding.