The influence of management on the technical efficiency of Ontario cow-calf operations



Weber, Michael John Joseph

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University of Guelph


Beef cow-calf farmers in Ontario have numerous challenges in the last decade. Faced with such threats to their viability, producers have several options, including exiting, diversifying, adopting technology or improving the production efficiency of operations. It is this last option which is the subject of this study. Efficiency measurement has been extensively developed in the agricultural economics literature. It is common to relate farm efficiency to socioeconomic indicators. Several studies have highlighted the role of management in farm efficiency. This study is the first to investigate the influence of management on the efficiency of cow-calf operations in the Canadian context. Several important conclusions are drawn from this study. The first is that gains from improving efficiency exist, as average farm efficiency is significantly below 100%. A second conclusion is that management decisions affect production efficiency. Efficiency gains can be realized from increasing the size of operations. Similarly, by focusing on biological efficiency, namely the weaning rate, efficiency can be improved. Finally, the maintenance and use of herd performance data is shown to positively affect efficiency.



beef cow-calf farmers, Ontario, efficiency measurement, production, management, cow-calf operations