PR - Scope Of The Firm And Management Information In Large-scale Rice Farms
Using results of a questionnaire survey of large farms in California, this study investigated the relation between information management and the scope of firms, especially integration into drying and warehousing. First, the majority of large farms are equipped with information communication technologies (ICT) such as global positioning systems (GPS) guidance systems and auto-steering. Integrated farms adopted precision agriculture technologies including Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS more than specialist producers did. Secondly, integrated farms accumulate more data related to yield and output inventory. They also provide video instruction and visual manuals for employee education. Farms with hierarchical structures monitor the input inventory and working time more intensively than simple structure farms do. Thirdly, large farms keep a record of input flow and input price. They also acquire information related to output rice quality. Operation schedules are well-planned in large farms. It is noteworthy that no significant adverse relation was observed despite the small sample size. Accordingly, rice farm expansion in the information age is expected in two directions. i) Integration using yield and output stock information to coordinate between upstream and downstream processes. Input inventory and working time should be monitored carefully. Yield monitors, RTK and other ICT will be used intensively to achieve uniform quality over farm fields. Employee education is also enhanced by visual ICT. ii) Scale expansion can be pursued with access to input flow and price information. Rice quality is important because it reflects the sale price to millers. A well-organized operation schedule within the farm is also important to manage farmland expansion geographically. It is noteworthy that integration and farm size are correlated strongly with each other in the California case. Both directions are therefore presumed to proceed simultaneously where land resources are abundant.
Keywords: management information, scope of the firm, integration, rice production, Information Communication Technology (ICT)