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Changes in agricultural labour efficiency in Northern Ireland 1975-1984

C. J. W. Edwards


A key factor in achieving economies of scale made possible by structural improvements in agriculture, is the more efficient use of farm labour. An analysis is made of farm employment and production data for Northern Ireland in 1975 and 1984 to investigate whether labour efficiency has increased during a period of general structural improvement in N. Ireland agriculture. In 1975 a labour efficiency index of 69.5 for the province, implied a surplus of labour above the current production needs of the industry (structural underemployment) of over 30 per cent. Regional analysis revealed spatial variations in efficiency levels, lowest levels being encountered in ihe south and west of the Province, and in hill areas, with labour efficiency increasing to the north and east. By 1984, a marked improvement to a provincial mean of 88.7 had been achieved, although levels of increase varied between regions, increasing Ihe spatial disparities in labour efficiency already in evidence in 1975.

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