Case Studies

Agriculture in China

Qingzhen, Zhao, Wang Changyu, and Zhang Zhimin. "The application of Operations Research in the Optimization of Agricultural Production." Operations Research, Vol. 39, No. 2 (1991). pp. 194-205.

Both nature and economics are factors in agriculture. The availability of computers can now make agricultural planning easier and help to curb economic loss. The key question has become: If resources and equipment are fixed, can the profit from production be increased through scientific regulation and planning?

Agricultural production in Chang Qing County in China includes crop farming, livestock husbandry, forestry, fisheries, and food processing. The two most important are crop farming and livestock husbandry. While the resources and equipment available can be controlled, the weather and market prices are difficult to predict or control.

The county officials in Chang Qing used linear programming to aid the farmers in their choices of crops and other forms of agricultural production. They wished to increase the net profit while having no adverse effects on the environment. The actual problem had over 3000 variables and 100 constraints.

Using the linear programming model led to a 12% increase in crop profits and a 54% increase in animal husbandry profits. It also improved the region's ecology and diversified the economy.

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