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Causal flow analyses combined with time series analyses are used to examine price relationships among fresh broiler retail markets (Northeast, South, Midwest, and West). Results indicate structural changes have occurred in this industry. Reasons for changes in price relationships include the perishable nature of fresh broilers, along with vertical integration and increases in production and concentration in the industry. The four markets are integrated, but the level of integration has decreased over time. With the markets becoming more exogenous, there may be a decrease in society’s welfare. The South market is the most important market for price discovery.
Academics worry grade inflation lowers standards; whereas, employers are concerned grades may not distinguish students’ abilities. These concerns are dismissed if higher grades reflect improved academic achievement and not inflation. Potential grade inflation is examined using data from 17,696 classes between 1985 and 2019 in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University. Evidence of systemic grade increase is found after controlling for institution, instructor, and student characteristics. Grade increases are partially explained by recruiting better and more female students. Grade inflation, however, may be associated with increased hiring of graduate students and other instructors.
Economic feasibility of Texas Blacklands corn production in relation to sorghum, wheat, and cotton is studied. Biophysical simulation generated yield data are integrated with an economic decision model using quadratic programming. Given the various scenarios analyzed, corn is economically feasible for the Blacklands. A crop mix of half corn and half cotton production is selected under risk neutrality with wheat entering if risk aversion is present. Corn and grain sorghum production are highly substitutable. Profit effects attributed to changing corn planting dates are more pronounced than profit changes resulting from altering corn population or maturity class.
The rice stink bug is a major pest of rice in Texas, causing quality related damage. The previous thresholds used for assisting in rice stink bug spray decisions lacked flexibility in economic and production decision variables and neglected the dynamics of the pest population. Using stochastic dynamic programming, flexible economic thresholds for the rice stink bug were generated. The new thresholds offer several advantages over the old, static thresholds, including increased net returns, incorporation of pest dynamics, user flexibility, ease of implementation, and a systematic process for updating.
Eight input combinations of commercial fertilizer, insecticides, and herbicides on a corn-soybean crop rotation in the Brazos River Bottom of Texas are evaluated. Input combinations which do not fully utilize all three inputs are consistently ranked higher by all criteria as the preferred input strategy for the corn-soybean rotation system. These results, which indicate limited input crop rotations that fall somewhere between the extremes of conventional agricultural production and organic agriculture, deserve further attention as a possible production alternative.
Impacts of alternative specifications for heteroscedastic error structures are examined by estimating various production functions for corn in Central Texas. Production- and profit-maximizing levels of inputs and the shape of the profit equation obtained from models not corrected for heteroscedasticity differed from those obtained from models corrected for heteroscedasticity. Using the profit-maximizing input levels for each production function gave essentially the same estimated yield and profit, regardless of the specification for heteroscedasticity employed. Differences of up to one-quarter to one-third are noted, however, in the amount of profit-maximizing levels of inputs used, depending on the heteroscedasticity correction.
Use of seasonal climate forecasts is a rapidly evolving area. Effective research and application of climate forecasts require close cooperation between scientists in diverse disciplines and decision makers. Successful collaboration requires all players to at least partially understand each other's perspectives. Issues associated with seasonal forecasts, through a selected review of both physical and social sciences literature, is presented. Our hope is that the review will improve research in this area by stimulating further collaborations.
A whole-farm-level decision model is used to examine the impact of the type of decisions producers make on the value of seasonal climate forecasts. Results suggest that precipitation forecasts directed towards crop mix and applied nitrogen level decisions would have the largest economic value. Further, the results show that the economic value of climate forecasts cannot be obtained by examining only a small set of decision types. Rather, all decision types must be modelled to value seasonal precipitation forecasts correctly. This occurs because in response to seasonal climate forecasts changes in one type of decision may override the need to change other decision types. Finally, forecasts of precipitation during the crop tasselling and grain filling stages may be more valuable than precipitation forecasts for earlier crop growth periods.
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