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Nilsson, Cecilia, 2012. Ley management : a means to improve forage quality and production. Second cycle, A2E. Umeå: SLU, Dept. of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden



Higher demands of competitiveness and efficiency have led to increasing sizes of farms, with more land, more capital and more comprehensive logistics. The aim is to gain benefits of scale economies that reduce the production cost per unit. However, a greater extent of the business exposes the farm of increased risk where small deviations rapidly can erase the benefits. A modern dairy farm thus put high demands on the farmer’s ability to coordinate, plan and manage the forage production through the whole process until storage to obtain silage of the desired quality and quantity at the right price.

The objective of this study was to design a simple model, i.e. the concept of ley management, that farmers and advisers can use to identify and prioritize strategic decisions in the forage production based on the farmer’s targets. An important part was to study the farmers' decision-making and compare it with their results in the forage production. The study thus consists of two parts, the farm study and the formulation of the concept of ley management. The farm study was conducted on nine dairy farms in the counties of Norrbotten and Västerbotten. Information about the farms and their forage production was collected through interviews and visits. This was combined with objective data points to evaluate the results of the farmers’ management during the season of 2011. The concept of ley management is based on three management models and the results of the farm study combined with experiences from the extension service. The models add the prioritizing of decisions from different time horizons of decision-making and planning, together with the resource utilization of the process perspective and comparability between the farmers.

The farm study showed that there is a potential to produce higher forage yields than what is done today. Calculations of forage production cost showed that it is possible to produce high quality combined with high yield at a low cost. The farmers who achieved these good results during the season could better describe their strategy and how they managed the crop production on their farms.
An important factor that influenced the outcome of the whole season was to harvest the first cut in time, not only to obtain high quality but also for the rest of the season to continue well.

By using existing tools in a larger extent the use of the available resources would be more efficient, thus improving the forage production and serve the profitability of the firm and the environment. Financial incentives are needed to present clear alternatives, however such calculations require a large data base to provide a benchmark and in northern Sweden there is none today. To secure a high quality counselling and research that benefits farmers a network of researchers, advisers and farmers has to be developed, in order to jointly drive the development of knowledge forward.

The farmer must have a strategy for obtaining adequate control and knowledge of the production system and its context to be able to successfully execute the right operations at the right time and at the same time lead the firm to meet its goals. The concept of ley management provides the farmers and advisors with a tool to examine and find cost-effective ways to achieve the farm's goals. The concept is simple and tangible, where the main point is to make the farmers more aware of their present production system from a more holistic point of view and hence what parts of the forage production system that may need to be changed or improved.

Main title:Ley management
Subtitle:a means to improve forage quality and production
Authors:Nilsson, Cecilia
Supervisor:Gustavsson, Anne-Maj and Cuellar, Federico
Examiner:Palmborg, Cecilia
Series:Examensarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för norrländsk jordbruksvetenskap
Volume/Sequential designation:2012:1
Year of Publication:2012
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NY003 Agricultural Programme - Soil/Plant 270 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden
Keywords:ley management, strategy, forage production, lean production
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Crop husbandry
Economics and management
Deposited On:23 Aug 2012 10:49
Metadata Last Modified:30 Oct 2012 11:13

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