Masters Theses


Mark L. Cook

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

S. Darrell Mundy

Committee Members

Luther H. Keller, Robert M. Ray


The primary objective of this analysis was to provide Tennessee burley tobacco producers with information on physical inputs, yield, quality, total value product (TVP), total factor costs (TFC), and net value product (NVP) associated with selected sucker control systems. The systems selected for this analysis consisted of one conventional system utilizing late topping and six alternative systems utilizing early topping. Paired comparisons were then made with the conventional system utilizing maleic hydrazide (KMH) within a partial budgeting framework. A secondary objective was to compare both agronomic and economic aspects associated with an alternative sucker control system utilizing KMH, machine applied, in conjunction with early topping to other chemical systems utilizing early topping. To obtain data for agronomic and economic comparisons between systems, a field experiment was conducted over three consecutive years from 1983 through 1985 at the University of Tennessee Tobacco Experiment Station near Greeneville, Tennessee. Sucker control systems or treatments were composed of variables such as time of topping, type of sucker control chemical(s) used, sequence and frequency of chemical application, and mode of application. The alternative systems evaluated for comparison with the conventional or control system were chosen with these variables considered most important in selecting an improved system or set of systems that are well within the means of resource availability for typical Tennessee burley tobacco producers. Total value product was determined for each system or treatment from observed yield and price data; price was also used as a proxy variable for quality. Costs directly and indirectly attributed to sucker control were estimated for each treatment and included in a partial budgeting framework along with TVP. Other costs of production were assumed constant across treatments. Net value product as well as added (reduced) NVP of paired comparisons were estimated for each treatment as a measure of net returns to quota, land, and management collectively. Similarly, added (reduced) NVP to each of four separate resources (plus management) and management alone was estimated. Though the results of the three-year experiment were ambiguous in regard to statistical comparisons of the different systems, there was some indication of economic advantages in those systems topped at early flower. Paired mean comparisons revealed that each of the respective early-topped treatments produced results (dollars per acre) greater than the conventional or control treatment in regard to yield, price, and TVP. In addition, costs of production attributed to the control of suckers were less for the early-topped treatments than for the control with the exception of a multi-pass treatment in which Prime + was hand applied. Added NVP to quota, land, and management ranged from a positive difference of $133 to $483 per acre over the control. In a similar view, NVP to management and each of four separate factors of production were greater for the early-topped treatments.

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