Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Applied Economics

Committee Chair(s)

Jay C. Andersen


Jay C. Andersen


R. John Hanks


John E. Keith


Reed R. Durtschi


The major purpose of this study is to make additional information available to the farm manager through the use of decision theory. This will enable him to improve the decision-making process relating to corn production. The goal is to use the resources at his disposal more efficiently and profitably. This study is primarily concerned with factors that influence planting date and corn variety selection. Within the framework of decision theory analysis, prior and posterior probabilities are employed to calculate the losses that may occur to corn crops in the Cache Valley area of Utah because of harmful spring frosts under optional corn varieties. The alternative of replanting is also added to the model. A brief discussion is included regard ing the impact of water shortage on planting date and corn variety selection. A discussion of factors influencing harvesting decisions is included.

The "seventy growing degree day" method is employed as a criterion for planting date select ion. The planting dates a r e matched with four different season length Utah hybrid corn varieties to formulate the courses of action available to the farm manager. The states of nature are the degrees of damage that would occur due to various frost intensities.

The decision theory approach of this study identifies the short season variety as the optimal corn crop for Cache Valley, unless planting can be done during the first week in May. This study indicates that planting a shorter season variety than most Cache Valley farmers have been using in the past would be profitable. Replanting after a frost is found to be unprofitable in marginal cases, but necessary in the case of a killing frost of sufficient duration.

The problem of a short water supply adds a constraint as to what varieties can be planted where the time required to reach the third stage of growth is most critical in obtaining potential yields. Finally, it was found that the risk of increased precipitation interfering with harvesting operations becomes almost a certainty if attempts to lengthen the season pushes the harvest too far in to October.



Included in

Economics Commons