Research Bulletin (Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station)


Rapid changes have been taking place in the technology of agriculture. These technical changes have important implications for the structure of farming. They affect the size and degree of specialization of enterprises and farms. Some also alter the comparative advantage of different producing regions and the concentration of output in particular areas. An outstanding example in this respect has been broiler production. In contrast to the prewar pattern, broiler output is now concentrated particularly on farms with highly specialized enterprises. Also, the center of production has shifted from the Corn Belt states to the Southeast.

Are similar trends likely to occur in pork production ~ The technology of producing pork has changed greatly in the last decade. One of the more recent innovations has been the development of more specialized hog systems built on multiple litters throughout the year. Historically, the common Corn Belt systems have included either spring litters alone or spring and fall litters in combination. The newer systems, however, include farrowing as frequently as four and six times per year. If the latter systems come to predominate on Corn Belt farms, the nation's pork output could be produced on many fewer farms. In general, these farms would specialize more in pork production than has held true in the past, although they wouldn't necessarily produce only hogs.



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