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Empirical studies of plant costs and efficiency always have stressed the importance of both size of plant and length of operating season on the level and shape of the economies of scale curve as well as the technical organization of production implied in it. Because most processing firms are integrated systems of product assembly, processing, and distribution, the minimum- cost combination of plant size and hours operated must be considered in terms of total operation, not of any single "stage" or component. This paper presents a method for determining optimum combinations of hours of operation and size of plant (as measured by rates of output) for two components, field and plant operations, of an integrated system of preparing lima beans for freezing. Though the analysis is oriented to only two "stages" and a particular product, the authors are hopeful that it may point the way toward extension to addi-tional "stages" and other products.


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