A Farm System

On Monday, we saw how the car assembly industry has inputs, processes and outputs.  A farm is also a system and can be thought of in the same way.

Outputs from the farm could be crops or animals/animal products or both, while inputs and processes will vary depending on the output.

The outputs of a dairy farm would include milk but also surplus animals, either calves or more elderly cows.

To get these outputs, what inputs do you need?

Cows obviously.

But inputs include anything that you need:

  • Land (with grass for cows to eat)
  • Climate (suitable for grass to grow)
  • Machinery (such as a milking machine and a refrigerated tank)
  • Buildings (to house the machinery and the cows in winter)
  • Money (to pay for everything that is needed)
  • Labour (to carry out the various processes)

And the processes?  That’s anything that you must do.  Think of words ending in “ing” – milking, feeding the cows, herding them to new pasture, harvesting grass for making silage for winter food.

The idea of a system works for any type of farm.  What would the inputs, processes and outputs be for a sheep farm?