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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Economic Interpretation of Agronomic Data by the Linear Programming Technique1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 22 No. 2, p. 132-136
    Received: Aug 3, 1957
    Accepted: Sept 17, 1957

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  1. E. R. Swanson,
  2. E. H. Tyner and
  3. G. A. Peterson2



Linear programming is a mathematical method of planning an operation in an optimal fashion. Optimality is necessarily rigorously defined. Depending on the problematic situation, it may mean the minimization of the cost of producing a given product, or the maximization of the profits from a business firm such as a farm. Mathematically the technique may be defined as the maximization of a linear relation subject to a set of restrictions. Linear programming is well adapted to farm planning in the Corn Belt where complex interrelations among enterprises exist.

The application discussed in this paper deals with an economic interpretation of alternative cropping and fertilizer programs. In the example presented, the interrelationships among (a) rotations, (b) fertilizer programs, (c) livestock enterprises, and (d) labor, capital, and land requirements are considered simultaneously in arriving at high-profit solutions for a period of 5 years. Since alternatives with respect to fertilizer programs may vary with respect to the timing of the capital investments, the choice of the type of fertilizer program may be dependent upon, among other things, the amount of capital available.

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