Proceedings

Influence Of Entrepreneurship And Management On Sow Farm Labour Productivity

Labour is, next to arable land and capital, one of the three pillars in agricultural production. On Western European sow farms, labour costs, make up 15% to 20% of the piglet production costs. In practice, however, there’s a large variation in the number of sows a farmer can handle and in the piglet productivity on the farm. Consequently, the labour costs per piglet raised differ enormously between farms. Apart from obvious factors like farm size, there is little knowledge available about the factors that have an important influence on labour productivity. This is particularly the case for factors concerning management and entrepreneurship. Therefore, a study was carried out to determine the variation in labour productivity among Dutch sow farms and subsequently identify managerial and entrepreneurial factors which influence labour productivity.

A telephone survey among 326 Dutch sow farmers was performed with questions about labour input, production system, technical parameters, management and entrepreneurship. From this survey it appeared that the average labour productivity was 1.74 raised piglets per deployed hour, with a standard deviation of 0.75. Furthermore, using multiple regression models, it was determined that larger sow farms realize a higher labour productivity. The factor Farm Size explained one third of the variation in labour productivity. Notable other significant factors were:

1. An entrepreneur and successor working on the same farm reduces labour productivity. When a successor starts working on the farm the labour demand, for example number of sows, is not proportionally increased, while the labour supply does. Other explanations might be that the entrepreneur is teaching the successor the necessary skills, or both are making plans for the future, which costs extra time.

2. Entrepreneurs who also have a job elsewhere realize a higher labour productivity. This may indicate that these entrepreneurs realize sufficient results in the time they can spend on their farm.

3. Entrepreneurs with the goal ‘more spare time for social life’ realize a lower labour productivity compared to entrepreneurs who focus on sow production or financial gain. Cause and consequence are unclear. They tend to produce fewer piglets in more time and the entrepreneurs themselves work on average almost nine hours more per week. Therefore it is understandable that they like to have some more spare time for their hobby or family.

4. Entrepreneurs who spend relatively a lot of time gaining expert knowledge realize a higher labour productivity. They probably implement the gained knowledge on their farm and increase the labour productivity.

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Author(s): Binnendijk, G.P., van Riel, J.W., Zonderland, J.J.

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Organizations(s): Animal Sciences Group, Wageningen University Research