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Abstract

Optimal farm plans with existing as well existing plus improved technologies were developed for small and medium farm groups to maximize farm income and minimize soil loss using linear programming technique. The application of this technique to soil and water conservation problems has not been done before. A perusal of the optimal plans developed under various programming situations revealed that for small farms, minimization of soil loss with only exiting technology may not be acceptable as the farm income from such a plan was only Rs 2.999 though the soil loss was only 3.7 t ha-1 yr-1. This income was much less than that from the existing (subsistence) plan (Rs 9,762). Farmers give more priority to having high farm income than to having low soil loss. In case of optimal plans for small farms developed with existing plus improved technologies. any of the two would be acceptable since both are giving better incomes than the present one (Rs 9.762). Hence for small farms improved technology would help a lot in improving the farm income without incurring high soil loss. In case of the medium farm category. minimization of soil loss with only existing technology would give almost the same income as from the present plan (Rs 16.876) but with a much lower level of soil loss (4.5 t ha -1 yr-1). With improved technology, farm income would be more than double (Rs 35, 505) the existing level of income, and, that too at the same rate of soil loos (23 t ha-1 yr -1). Minimization of soil loss with improved level of technology would also give a better inceome than the existing one but with a very low soil loss rate (3.9 t ha-1 yr-1). Hence for medium farm category, though improved technology can boost the farm income with much lower or almost same rate of soil loss, even existing technology if optimally utilized can reduce soil loss without compromising the farm income. Thus the study concludes that efficient resource management with improved package of crop production technologies holds the key for prosperity.

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