Land use change and sub-optimal production on marginal part-time farms : the case of N.W. Scotland, 1947-79
The study concerns the effects on the course of agricultural land-use change of the local domination of land occupancy by sub-full-time farms; in particular the effect of non-agricultural occupations on the land-use of individual farm operators is central. Land-use changes in the West Highlands of Scotland (1947-79) were charted for 66 Parishes, which were subjected to a hierarchical fusion of 'similar experience' of change. Resultant clusters were compared in terms of structural attributes. Differentiation was found at two levels: between areas of high viz low percentages of part-time holdings and within the sub-full-time fractions, related to relative proportions of holdings of 40-135, and 135-270 Standard Man Days. 'Insignificant' holdings (<40 SMDs) were found not to be of a characteristic land-use 'type' but instead operated enterprises of similar form to larger units. In three areas of crofting townships land-use and enterprise characteristics were found not to be a sole function of size of holdings or labour availability, (estimated from household demographic and employment criteria). Non-farm occupational characteristics (full-time; part-time; seasonal etc) related to the scale of enterprise but less so to the type of enterprise. Occupants with off-farm work did not specialise per se in low-labour demanding activities. Linear programming was used to estimate optimal land-use intensity from land capability and labour data. Occupational factors related to sub-optimal land-use intensity as did occupants' age. A method derived from Point Score Analysis of decision-making factors showed that certain factors serve as 'constraints' on choices of specific groups of individuals. Off-farm work was found to be the most important such constraint.