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The increasing flexibility of machinery and labour inputs to UK farming

A. Errington 
Abstract : This article reviews the evidence that labour and machinery inputs to UK farming are becoming increasingly flexible with the growth of agricultural contracting and machinery rings. The increased opportunity for farmers to make marginal adjustments to labour and machinery inputs tends to erode sorne of the economies of size with important implications for economically optimum farm structures. The article first describes and explains the increasing flexibility of the inputs before going on to examine the evidence for systematic variation in labour and machinery costs by enterprise size. The analysis suggests that economies of size persist, particularly among the beef and sheep enterprises. The strongest evidence of the erosion of economies of size is found on the cereals and other cropping enterprises. It is concluded that smaller farms and smaller farm enterprises will continue to face the fundamental problem of higher unit costs for the foreseeable future. The problem is likely to be greatest on those farms (small farms involved in beef and sheep production) and in those areas (LFAs, Objective 1, Objective Sb) where farming appears to display its most beneficial externalities in social and environmental terms.
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  • HAL Id : hal-01231627, version 1


A. Errington. The increasing flexibility of machinery and labour inputs to UK farming. Études et Recherches sur les Systèmes Agraires et le Développement, INRA Editions, 1998, pp.371-385. ⟨hal-01231627⟩



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