Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pasture yields

This concerns the 'Devon Rents' paper. The analysis we have done for 648 parishes in six counties in south-west England has used only the arable rent and the wheat yield. But many of the parishes were right in the middle of prime sheep and cattle-raising areas, and in fact livestock farming would have been more important in 1836 than wheat farming. I haven't analysed the livestock sector for the parishes because a lot of the data is missing for livestock: we have livestock yields and livestock rents only for one county, Devon. We don't have livestock yields for the other counties. It is very tricky to calculate livestock yields, so that is probably why  the Inspector didn't bother. But we do have livestock rents, which for the Inspector would have been much easier to record; he would just have written them down.

So we aren't currently making use of the livestock rent data...which seems a shame. Hate to waste data! This morning I was out running and I thought of a way that we would use the livestock rent data. We know the livestock yields AND the livestock rent for Devon (n =96). Could we use the mathematical relationship that we know for Devon yields and rents to construct a simulation for the other counties? We know the soil, the rainfall, distance to market town----perhaps this is enough to calculate the relationship between rent and simulated yield for our other 600+ parishes? This would be a significant contribution to the literature. And the applications to developing countries are obvious.

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