Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Farming systems approach
 Preliminary survey
 Proposed projects as indicated...

Title: Sondeo report
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00082711/00001
 Material Information
Title: Sondeo report
Physical Description: Book
Creator: North Florida Farming Systems Research and Extension Program (Suwannee and Columbia counties)
Publisher: North Florida Farming Systems Research and Extension Program
Publication Date: 1981
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00082711
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 213415734

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
        Page 1
    Farming systems approach
        Page 2
    Preliminary survey
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Proposed projects as indicated by the Sondeo
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
Full Text



September 15, 1981

The following persons contributed to this report:

Carl Amerling, Food and Resource Economics

George Clough, Vegetable Crops

James Dean, Food and Resource Economics

Bruce Dehm, Food and Resource Economics

Edwin C. French, Agronomy

Peter E. Hildebrand, Food and Resource Economics

Dwight Schmidt, Anthropology

Marilyn Swisher, Geography



Introduction. . . . . .

Farming Systems Approach . .

Preliminary Survey . . . ..

Sondeo. . . . . . . .

Results . . . . . . .

Old-line and recently establ
Black and white farmers. .
Production systems . . .

Discussion. . . . . . .

Proposed Projects as Indicated by



. . . .

small farmers

Sondeo. . .



Suwannee and Columbia Counties


The North Florida Farming Systems Research and Extension (FSR/E) Project

has as objectives, 1) generate and promote scale specific technology for the

small scale farmers in the northern part of the state who lie outside

mainstream IFAS research and extension activities, and 2) test the appli-

cability and cost effectiveness of the FSR/E approach to Florida conditions.

The FSR/E procedure evolved over the last ten years in several developing

countries as a means of helping the very large number of small farmers in

those countries solve their production and marketing problems. Administra-

tors in IFAS were interested in the potential of the approach to reach the

farmers difficult to include in usual research and extension practices under

the budgetary restrictions placed upon them.

On a pilot basis, a multidisciplinary team of three full-time profes-

sionals, with part-time participation from several others, has begun activi-

ties in the northern part of the state. Initial screening narrowed the

area for the pilot project to six counties and a preliminary survey was used

to select two counties as the primary action area. Suwannee and Columbia

counties comprise the area within which a more intensive, but rapid survey

called a "Sondeo" (a Spanish term from its Central American origin) was

conducted. The Sondeo is designed to provide the initial and basic orien-

tation for research and extension activities directed to the small farm tar-

get group.

This report does not pretend to be a definitive study of small farmers

in the target area. Above all, it is not a census-type report whose aver-

ages and frequencies are meant to describe an area. Rather, it explains what

the team members feel are the salient features of the small farms visited


during the Sondeo process and which must be understood and taken into con-

sideration if appropriate and acceptable solutions to the problems of these

farmers are to be found. More complete and definitive studies will be forth-

coming after the team has had time to work with these farmers over the next

few months and years in anattempt to help them in the problem solving process.

Farming Systems Approach

A wide range of dynamic and interrelated variables including tradition,

education, credit structures, economic status, soil, weather, and market

factors shape the character of farm operations. The ability of farmers to

successfully respond to this complex of factors depends on many things, but

one key item is the farmers' resource base.

The farming systems approach views the farm as a holistic sys-

tem. Components of this system include the natural and human environments

and the links established between these through such elements as technology.

A systematic approach allows a delineation and comprehension of the nature

of resources and resource constraints associated with farm operations to

which research and appropriate technology may be directed. In addition to

constraints, a systems approach identifies the needs and interests of the

farmers themselves, under the assumption that generated technology will be

adopted when the farmers desire such innovations and directly perceive

these to be beneficial.

The complexity of external (off-farm) factors impinging upon local

farm systems, the rapidity of agricultural change, and the'increasingly high

cost of "state of the art" technology have made it difficult for many small

farmers to successfully adapt their traditional farming systems to present

conditions. Due to these factors, marginal return on many items of produc-

tion has become so low that the farmer finds fewer and fewer viable and

appropriate alternatives.

' 1 ,


Nonetheless, it is important to remember that traditional farming sys-

tems have been successful in the past, and that farmers have made adapta-

tions to their traditional systems when new technology proved appropriate.

An examination of the characteristics of existing systems, the requirements

of a successful farming strategy specific to North Florida, and the farmer's

own prerequisites and interests can point to the direction in which the

FSR/E Program must move.

Preliminary Survey

A preliminary survey was conducted in six North Florida counties during

the six week period following March 27, 1981. The purpose of this survey

was to assess the frequency of small farms within each individual county and

to determine the location of homogeneous farming system groups large enough

to make the Farming Systems approach cost effective.

During the survey period, team members met with county extension per-

sonnel and local farmers and observed local farming practices. Additional

information sources utilized during the preliminary survey included the

Suwannee River Water Management District, the North Florida Regional Plan-

ning Office, the North Florida Association of Small Farm Cooperatives, and

various local governmental offices.

The preliminary survey permitted the team to differentiate the tradi-

tional, small, family farm from at least two other broad classes: the

large, agribusiness concern and theranchetteorsubdivision unit. The charac-

teristics of the three differ and of the three, it is the small family farmer

who has least been able to acquire needed technology from existing research

and extension structures.

The goals and aspirations of the three classes of farms are an initial

point of differentiation. As the word agribusiness implies, farming is


viewed as a business venture by the large scale, highly commercialized

farmer. He is profit and growth oriented and makes his decisions largely

on the basis described by classic economic theory. The ranchette or sub-'

division farmer has normally moved to the country for other reasons than a

desire to farm per se. While the desire to own land and grow his own food

may be important, his operation is minimally commercial and the money used

to buy land and equipment is earned off-farm. He is, in many ways, a

"hobby" farmer. In contrast to both the agribusinessman and the ranchette

farmer, the small, family farmer places a high value on farming as a way

of life. His operation is commercial and profit is one of his goals, but

maintaining the farm as a home is also critical. In the face of high

risk or the need to carry high debt loads in order to maximize profit,

he may well prefer to forego the opportunity to maximize profit if doing

so assures him of survival.

The opportunities to avail themselves of new technology are limited

for small, family farmers for other reasons as well. The large scale,

commercial farmer has a high volume of production, and has the capital

and financing that permits him to purchase "state of the art!"technology.

Much research is oriented to this scale of operation. The ranchette

farmer is more concerned with production for home consumption. The in-

formation he needs is available, and he is generally well aware of

how to utilize the public and private services available to him. It

is the small, family farmer who has been "left out" in the development

of technology for the last 20-25 years. Much of the research which

appears to be scale-neutral, in fact is not appropriate to small family

farms, so "state of the art" technology is not available to this group.1-

Further, the scale of operation has not permitted the small family.

farmer to compete successfully as profit becomes more and more a function

of high volume production.

Although small operations were found in all six counties, survey

results indicated larger numbers in Suwannee and Columbia counties. Coin-

cidentally, these counties are ideally located between Gainesville and the

Live Oak Agricultural Research Station. Because of these considerations,

Suwannee and Columbia counties were chosen as the primary areas of inter-



The primary purpose of a Sondeo or "sounding out" is the rapid compil-

ation of data necessary to orient an effective program to provide relevant

and realistic solutions to farm problems. The recent Sondeo conducted in

Suwannee and Columbia counties is the first step in the North Florida FSR/E

Project directed towards development and promotion of agricultural tech-

nology for small and/or limited resource farmers.

The strength of the Sondeo procedure is the representation of a num-

ber of disciplines; the more that are represented, the higher the proba-

bilities of unearthing real problems and generating acceptable solutions

in an efficient and timely manner.

-/Many will argue that an improved corn cultivar, for example, is scale
neutral it will grow as well on a small as ona large farm. However, it
is not the size of the field that is relevant. On small farms, irrigation
and pesticides,which are necessary for optimum growth of the corn cultivar,
are not used, so the cultivar does not produce the same as it would on a
large farm where irrigation and pesticides are available and used.

Sondeo activities in Suwannee and Columbia counties began during the

week of June 18, 1981. An average of two teams comprised of two or three

persons each was in the field three days a week until July 27, 1981. Sixty-

six farm interviews were conducted as well as interviews with county Exten-

Sion personnel, other community leaders, and persons knowledgeable about

area agriculture. Interview length averaged 2 1/2 hours.


Sondeo results led to a further differentiation among groups of small,

family farmers. Several patterns of interest emerged. A classification

system (see Figure 1) which serves to identify target groups for technol-

ogy development and transfer on the basis of both socio-economic and pro-

duction factors has been developed. There are three production systems:

"livestock-centered", "crop-centered", and "mixed". These systems repre-

sent significant social and economic differences among the farm operations

encountered, especially with respect to resources and the management of

the farm. Observations indicate these differences reflect variation in

terms of how farmers view and value their farm practices, and differences

in their social networks. Such networks represent access to labor

(especially kin-based labor), credit, land, equipment, and other variables

important to a farm operation. Kinship, neighbor, and local community

political social structures are major elements influencing the structure

of these networks.

"Old-Line" and "Recently Established" Small Farmers

The first separation in Figure 1, "old-line" versus "recently estab-

lished" farmers is the most general and cuts across racial boundaries and

production modes. A farmer is classified as old-line (Table 1) if he is

Figure 1. -- Classification of Sixty-Six Small Family Farms, Suwannee and Columbia Counties Florida (Farm
Size from 12-700 Acres)





C 9 I





10 L2 C1
(15.1%) (3,1%) (1.5%)

M 19

OLD-LINE Two or more generations on land, established

RECENTLY ESTABLISHED First generation on land, new to

L Livestock-centered enterprise
C Crop-centered enterprise
M Livestock/crop mixed enterprise

kin/social networks in area.

area, no established kin/social network.

Average Acreaqe per Farm Classification

OBL 200
OBM 161
OBC 110

OB 143



OWL 222
OWM 226
OWC 53

04 219

REBM 154 REWM 367
REBC 105 REWC 104

REB 134 REW 230











LO 0



L 11


part of a local, established network of kin, has bought or inherited land

held within his/her family for two or more generations, and is socially in-

corporated within the local community. A farmer is classified as recently

established if he is an "outsider" (does not have membership in a local

established kin network), is not southern, and/or has had to obtain land

from a stranger or non-related individual.

Table 1. -- Selected Characteristics of the "Recently Established" and
"Old-Line" Farms

Farm Group
Old-Line Recently Established

Kin/Social Weak
Networks Strong

Land Slightly smaller (184 acres) Slightly larger (196 acres)
Frequently inherited or Purchased on open market
purchased from family

Labor and Custom Family labor Hired labor
Operations More assured availability Uncertain availability
Highly motivated Indifferent

Cash and Capital Low investment in land and High investment in land and
equipment equipment
Low cash flow High cash flow
Low indebtedness in land High indebtedness in land and
and equipment equipment
Informal loan arrangements Institutionalized loan arrange-
Very risk averse Less risk averse
Share equipment Purchase or hire equipment

Frequency in Higher (79%) Lower (21%)

Old-line farmers (79% of the sample) tend to be part of well established

social/kinship networks. On the one hand, these networks represent a means

of access to labor; land, and equipment. If a kinship group owns irrigation

equipment, for example, the member of the group with highest need for irrigation

can have access to the equipment; it may be one member of the group who plants

all the tobacco allotments. On the other hand, these ties also bring added

responsibility; reciprocal labor in tobacco harvesting may mean a farmer is

working continuously for several weeks even though his own allotment is

small. Among the recently established group, such ties are much less devel-

oped and goods and services are supplied on a cash basis. This group has

more limited access to less expensive kin-based labor, to local community

power figures who make agricultural decisions or influence markets, and to

shared equipment than do old-line farmers. The latter exchange these re-

sources along their social networks with considerable savings.

The kinds of differences described above extend into many areas. Old-

line farmers acquire part or all their land from family members, whereas

new farmers have to purchase their land on the open market. Even when. old-line
farmers purchase land, family members may sell more cheaply to kin, and often

at lower interest rates and with flexible, non-institutional payment sched-

ules. Some land is also inherited. This both lowers the debt load of the

old-line farmer in comparison to the recently established farmer, and

gives a slight advantage in terms of farm size.

Sharing equipment similarly decreases the relative indebtedness of

the old-line farmer compared to the recently established farmer. Partly

because of this lower indebtedness and partly because of risk aversion,

cash flow is much lower for old-line farmers.

There are also differences in arrangements for labor and custom oper-

ations. Since old-line farmers often use family labor, their labor supply

is relatively well assured. Recently established farmers, must

hire labor, which may be scarce and relatively undependable. Perhaps more

important, family labor is apt to be highly motivated and work well,

whereas outside labor is often considered low quality.


Black and White Farmers

The separation in Figure 1, based on race, (Table 2), represents a

historic division in Southern culture. Some black farmers feel certain

production outlets, for example watermelons, are "white-controlled". These

perceptions may influence their evaluation of risks and opportunities to

try other production enterprises. Black farmers, in general, own older,

less specialized equipment than do white farmers. They own less land than

white farmers and are less apt to irrigate. White farmers have greater

access to capital and higher capital investments. On the other hand, black

farmers share capital much more freely within their kin units than do white

farmers. They also rely more heavily on non-paid kin labor. There may be

important constraints on black farmers based upon the bonds of obligatory ;

sharing that their culture prescribes. Sharing capital, land, labor and

equipment has permitted black farmers to maintain their farms despite the

severe constraints facing each individual farmer.

Table 2. -- Selected Characteristics of Black and White Farms

Black Farms

Predominantly crop centered

Small (141 acres)

Less capital availability

Greater labor availability (sharing)

High frequency of tobacco-centered
systems with small allotments

High frequency of vegetable pro-

Less irrigation

Less specialized machinery

Skewed geographic distribution (none
in Southern Suwannee county)

Lower frequency in sample (40%)

White Farms

Predominantly livestock centered

Larger (221 acres)

More capital availability

Less Labor

Larger tobacco acreage

High frequency of peanut-centered

More irrigation

More specialized machinery

Generalized geographic distribution

Higher frequency in sample (60%)


Production System

The third separation in Figure 1 delineates the production modes of

the farmers. Social networks and their influence on access to capital,

labor and other inputs are related to whether a farmer is old-line or re-

cently established, and to race. These social variables in turn, influence

the production system.

Owing to smaller acreage and, perhaps, to the historical experience

of black farmers with crops, 42% of the black farming systems are crop-

centered. White farming systems, in contrast, are primarily livestock-

centered (35%) with only a small proportion (10%) centered on crops.

Fully, half of the small farms visited, black or white operated, had

mixed crop-livestock systems.

While both black and white farmers raise tobacco, black farmers are

apt to plant small acreages, usually limited to their own allotments.

White farmers however, feel that it is not economical to plant such small

acreages and either rent out their allotments or consolidate several allot-

ments into larger acreages. Black farmers may be able to continue with

small acreages because they do not own new, expensive machinery and be-

cause they have access to kin labor.

Very few black farmers plant peanuts for commercial sale whereas many

white farmers do so. This is tied to the skewed geographic distribution

of black-owned farms. Peanuts are grown in southern Suwannee and Columbia

counties where few black farms occur. Black farms are, for the most part,

outside the peanut production zone, concentrated on and near old planta-

tion lands, especially in northern Suwannee county.

When tobacco and peanuts are grown, whatever the other characteristics

of the farm, certain special factors come into play. Both are high value,


high input crops. Even though the acreage planted in peanuts or tobacco

may be small, the high value and guaranteed market for these crops means

that disproportionate demands on the farmer and his resources are made.

The farmer must always take into consideration the needed cash flow so

that other crops that compete with them at peak cash demand receive low-

er priority. Even more important are the demands of these crops from

managerial time and labor. Because these are also scarce resources, their

demand places severe constraints on the system. Further, both tobacco and

peanuts should be planted in rotation, on different land each year. Most

peanut farmers and some tobacco farmers do so. Again, this places an

additional constraint on land use in the overall farming system.

While innovation in tobacco or peanut production per se may not be

an important part of the FSR/E Program, the importance of these crops

must be kept in mind. Innovations in other farm enterprises must take

into account the constraints imposed on the overall system by tobacco or

peanut production.

As shown in Table 3, hogs and associated corn production are key ele-

ments in almost all farms and offer excellent opportunities for technology

development. However, the kinds of differences in capital and labor con-

straints between black and white farmers may well require somewhat differ-

ent approaches.


Table 3. -- Frequency of Selected Enterprises and Disposition of Product,
Small Farmers, Suwannee and Columbia Counties


Enterprise Frequency On-Farm Use Sold Off-Farm

Hogs 58%:. 58% 47%

Corn 76% 55% 33%

Vegetables 76% 76% 36%

tBased, in all cases on a sample of 66

Corn (Table 4) has traditionally been an important crop not only because

the technology for its production is relatively simple and well known, but

also because it provides alternatives and flexibility to the farmer; it can

be grazed off, fed to livestock as grain or silage, stored, or sold as a

cash crop. As the local corn market has become more and more subject to

pricing in the national and international markets, and as relative costs

of corn production have increased in Florida, corn has become less versatile

and profitable. Drought conditions over the last 4 years have exacerbated

the problem.

Table 4. -- Aspects of the Corn Enterprise of Small Farmers, Suwannee and
Columbia Counties

Farm Class Type % Farms % On-Farm % Sale
(Number) With Corn Use

Old-line Black (21) 81,0 66.7 33.3
Old-line White (31) 75.2 48.4 35.5
Recently Estab-
lished Black (.5) 100.0 60.0 60.0
Recently Estab-
lished White ( 9) 55.6 44.4 11.0
Black Total (26) 84.6 65.4 38,5
White Total (40) 70.0 47.5 30.0
Overall Total (66) 75.8 54.5 33,3


Vegetable production (Table 5), both for on-farm consumption and commer-

cial sales, is very common to both black and white farming systems. Commer-

cial production however, is critical to black farmers with more than

half of this group producing vegetables for sale.

Table 5. -- Aspects of Vegetable Production on Small Farms, Suwannee and
Columbia Counties

Farm Class Type % Farms with Vegetables :% Sale

Old-line Black (21) 85.7 52.4
Old-line White (31) 67.7 22.6
Recently estab-;'
lished Black ( 5) 100;0 60.0
Recently estab-
lished White ( 9) 66.7 33.3

Black Total (26) 88.5 53.8
White Total (40) 67.5 25.0

Overall Total (66) 75.8 36.4

The number of farmers in North Florida using irrigation has risen sharply

in the last two years due to lack of rainfall. The farmers who are installing

irrigation represent a group with sufficient resource flexibility to overcome

this unpredictable variable. Limited resource farmers who cannot make this

change have experienced severe, consecutive losses.


Sondeo results show that the old-line farmer should be a major

group For emphasis within the FSR/E Program. This category predominates in

the sample group and represents that segment of the farm population which

has traditionally taken limited advantage of extension services. Recently

established farmers may well be amenable to adoption of technology generated

by the FSR/E Program under the more restricting conditions of the old-line

farmers because work done withinthe-tighter capital and labor constraints


facing those categorized as old-line will allow for easier transfer of that

technology to recently established farmers who utilize similar production

systems, but face less stringent constraints. One specific target group

indicated by the Sondeo is the old-line white farmers who are livestock

oriented, with primary emphasis on cattle production. Another is the old-

line black farmers who are primarily crop oriented with emphasis on vege-

tables. A third group, and perhaps the most important, is the old-line

mixed crop-livestock farmers, both black and white, who together comprise

nearly half the sample.

Many farmers, large and small, stress the desire and need for diver-

sification. Family farms in North Florida do exhibit diversified farming

systems with a wide variety of crop and animal combinations. Swine and

cattle play a vital role on many small farms, often even in peanut or

tobacco-centered systems. Corn production and the high acreage devoted

to hay and pasture both reflect the importance of animals. One key fac-

tor, then, is to include and increase the viability of the livestock com-

ponent within the overall farming systems.

The small family farmer stresses the importance of low risk, low cap-

ital, low labor, and low management farm operations. While it may not be

possible to devise innovations that satisfy all these concerns, any possible

solution must address a substantial number of these factors. High manage-

ment time and skills or unlimited capital resources, for example, cannot

be assumed to be available. Acceptability to the farmer is the focal point

of innovation, and acceptance will certainly be based upon innovations

appropriate to the farmer's limited human, physical, economic and technical

resources. Any innovation will have to consider diversification on a scale

and with crops and/or livestock appropriate and acceptable to small farmers.


The Sondeo has permitted us to identify appropriate target groups and

a guideline for technology development. However, the Sondeo is no more

than an introduction to the farmers and their problems and an initial basis

for orienting problem solution. The process of learning continues in the

next phase on farm research, farm records and continued contact with the

farmers. As we become acquainted on a first-hand basis with the farmers,

their problems and conditions, we will be able to modify our research acti-

vities as new knowledge is gained. The understanding of the agro-socioeconomic

complexes of the small, family farm sector we obtain by these methods, will be

even more critical as we approach the technology transfer stage.

Proposed Projects as Indicated by the Sondeo

I. Socio-Economic Studies

A. General Information Transfer

This is a continuing activity and involves a constant interaction

with area farmers, primarily by the anthropologist, but with active partici-

pationof all the members of the inter-disciplinary team. Information flow

is both to and from the farmers.

Information transfer studies will include comparison of black and

white kin and social networks and information transfer mechanisms in order

to more completely identify resources and constraints found in the various

farmer groups. The kinds of differences in capital and labor constraints

between black and white farmers, for example, may require somewhat differ-

ent approaches. Under this project, characteristics of small farmers in

other North Florida counties will also be studied to determine homogeneity

with target area (Suwannee and Columbia counties) farmers.


B. Enterprise Records

Cooperating farmers will be asked to keep records on enterprises

of specific interest to the program. These budgets will be Used as a

basis of comparison for analyzing new technology as it is being tested and

will also provide basic information for general budgeting purposes. A

graduate assistant will have primary responsibility for initiating this


C. Ad-Valorum Taxes

A study will be initiated to determine the effect of ad-valorum

taxes on the small farms in the study area. Specifically, the effects of

greenbelt assessment on the decline of small farm numbers will be studied.

D. Marketing

Studies of marketing alternatives available to area farmers, par-

ticularly in conjunction with modular vegetable production systems, will

provide a guide for further directions of research and extension.

II. Cropping Studies

A. Modular Intercropping System

A modular system designed around 42-inch rows and a small one

row tractor will be studied at the Live Oak Research Station. Inter-crop-

ping will be utilized to increase efficiency of fertilizer use, decrease

the use of pesticides, intensify farming operations, and spread risk.

Specific vegetable crops and crop mixes which require minimal capital

investment and assume adequate labor availability will be examined.

Effects of intercropping and reduced use of pesticides upon nematodes

and other pests will be monitored.


Since 90% of old-line black farms are crop-centered or mixed, with 45%

producing vegetables for commercial sale, modular cropping system research

should be directed towards this group and should include vegetable produc-

tion as a key element. However, the technology developed should be trans-

ferable to other classifications.

B. Machinery

Simple and inexpensive equipment will be designed around a 20 hp

tractor similar to that used by many small farmers in the area. The equip-

ment will be designed for the modular system, but will be flexible so it

can be adapted to conventional systems should that prove more appropriate.

Interest in low cost, reduced tillage agriculture suitable for

smaller equipment with parts readily available on farms was evidenced very

strongly and this will be included in the study.

C. Irrigation

Low cost, small scale irrigation systems will be studied as one

means of increasing the intensity of operations on small farms and reduc-

ing risk. Low cost, low input irrigation systems for high income crops, in

conjunction with alternate fuel sources, will be investigated.

D. Nutrient Recycling

This project will be conducted both on the campus and at Live Oak

ARC with graduate students and in cooperation with several departments. It

is a continuation of a general exploratory study with perennial peanut

(Arachis glaborata), initiated in late 1980 but will shift emphasis to study

nitrogen effects of the living mulch on intercrop mixes.


E. On-Farm Trials

At least ten on-farm trials are planned for the year. Most of

these will be in the specific study area, but some may be on farms in sur-

rounding counties to obtain broader regional response information. The

nature of the trials remains to be determined, but may include some of the


1) The use of alternate feed crops such as sorghum and

pigeon pea as a means of penetrating compaction layers

of soil.

2) Establishment of perennial peanut and intercropping in

previously established stands.

3) Variety trials under specific small farm conditions. For

example, corn has traditionally been a cash crop in the

sample area. Interviews have indicated a need for testing

corn varieties under non-irrigated, low input, local condi-


4) Soil type and farming systems.

For the farming systems chosen for study, the soils will be clas-

sified to determine any specific relationships which may exist between the

systems and soil type. If small farms predominately are found on poorer

soils or on any specific type of soils, this will facilitate crop and live-

stock research efforts. Soil types versus farming systems studies will

provide a valuable tool for future recommendations. (A preliminary study

is nearing completion). In addition, the study will examine soil compac-

tion to determine to what extent compaction presents a problem to crop

production. This may lead to on-farm trials of alternative methods of

land preparation and crop establishment. Included may be sub-soiling,

fixed traffic lanes, and pigeon pea/sorghum mixed cropping.


III. Livestock Studies

A. Cattle Systems

1. Alternate forage systems. Examination of alternative forage

systems to include perennial peanut, leucaena, and others. These systems

would incorporate adaptable low cost, energy efficient concepts.

B. Swine

The corn-hog association is of great importance to the small farms

in the survey region. More than half the farmers surveyed produce swine and

95% of them produce feed (corn) on their own farms.

1. Management. In many cases swine production techniques and

facilities are rustic. For example, either poor or non-existent farrowing

facilities were noted at most farms which produced their own litters. This

may be a result of the lack of information available through the existing

extension service, or it may indicate the need for modifications in recom-

mended facilities to make them more appropriate to the conditions of these

producers. The FSR/E team will work with county Extension personnel to test

a means of disseminating available information to this unique target group

as well as test the acceptability of recommended facilities.

2. Corn processing. One major constraint in the corn-hog asso-

ciation has been the need for the farmer to utilize off-farm facilities for

drying, storing, grinding, and mixing his corn for feed. The resulting

negative cash-flows involved have drastically reduced the profit margin for

hog production. Investigation of high moisture grain storage as well as in-

clusion of grinding, mixing, and storage facilities within the farm bound-

aries, using low capital, appropriate technology will be included.

3. Alternate feed sources. Another alternative to the present

corn-hog complex is a change of feed crop. An examination of possible


alternate crops which could be integrated into present swine systems, in-

cluding sorghum, wheat, soybeans, pigeon pea, and others will be conducted.

4. Nutrition studies. Nutrition studies will be conducted in

conjunction with the Swine Unit at Live Oak Research Center. Specifically

studied will be the feasibility of feeding mixes of alternate feed crops

such as pigeon pea, wheat and grain sorghum.

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