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Master of Agribusiness

Farm Management Implications of Uncertainty in the Number of Days Suitable for Fieldwork in Corn Production

Michelle Mensing, Grimes, IA, defended her thesis, “Farm Management Implications of Uncertainty in the Number of Days Suitable for Fieldwork in Corn Production” on March 10, 2017. She works as a Research Analyst for Decision Innovation Solutions. Mensing graduated from Kansas State University in May 2017 with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree.

In the agriculture industry, unpredictable weather conditions can introduce risk into the production process. Changes in weather conditions during the growing season alters optimal farm management choices regarding machinery purchases, crop allocation to available acreage and varietal trait selection. These farm management decisions impact the expected length of time available for the crop to reach maturation, and many producers’ must manage machinery to have adequate equipment available to plant and harvest all acreage within available fieldwork days. In her thesis, Mensing conducted an analysis of days suitable for fieldwork trends in various crop-reporting districts in Iowa, Kansas and Missouri and calculated the optimal days suitable for fieldwork percentile to select machinery using a benefit-cost analysis.

“This research analyzed corn planting and harvest progress, as well as the number of days suitable for fieldwork in Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. Variability of days suitable for fieldwork across crop reporting districts within each state was reported. The total number of days suitable for fieldwork during the ‘most active’ planting and harvest weeks in each state were analyzed to determine if increasing or decreasing trends exist,” Mensing said.

Mensing’s research suggested that corn farm operators in Iowa need to be aware of the diminishing number of available fieldwork days to effectively manage machinery capacities, in addition to other findings. She also provided recommendations for future research improvements such as analyzing the influential years in the analysis to potentially correct some trends based on outliers.

Dr. Terry Griffin, Assistant Professor and Mensing’s thesis advisor, said, “Ms. Mensing brought a lot of experience and motivation to her thesis project. Since graduating I’ve watched Michelle’s professional career grow. She has used her thesis results in her consultancy activities and publicly reported how days suitable impact farm management decisions.”

The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/35386.