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Structural adjustment and regional relocation in the Tasmanian hop industry


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Miller, CL 1980 , 'Structural adjustment and regional relocation in the Tasmanian hop industry', Unspecified thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The uniqueness of the agricultural pursuit of hop growing
lies in its very high input costs and related agglomerative tendencies;
the interest for this study lies in the predictable fluctuations in
the area planted to the crop, deriving as they do from a complex of
market-related and industry-behaviour considerations.
Physical requirements for the crop are relatively narrow,
but more important causes of local specialization have traditionally
derived from the industrial use of the crop and the centralizing of
certain processing facilities, particularly as these affect smaller
producers. The attraction of the perennial crop for producers of
even a hectare or less derives from the prospect of highly profitable
returns; a prospect frequently not fulfilled. The hop plant,
Humulus lupulus, has earned its reputation as a gambler's crop; the
balance between fixed input costs, variable yields and prices for the
commodity periodically has favoured costs over returns, leading to
cyclical changes in total planted area and in the number of hop
growers._ The spatial expression of such fluctuations is seen in
the emergence of a core area of production within which land-use
intensity for the crop has remained relatively unchanged for over a
century. Beyond the core, the extensive margins of production exhibit
cyclical expansion and contraction, at times including localities
as widely spaced as Flinders Island and Strahan; but the forces
leading to concentration and specialization within the industry have
tended to confine production increasingly to the Derwent Valley and
minor localities in the south of the state until the last two
decades. Since 1960, a major new production region has emerged in the north-east of the state, reflecting changed economies of
scale brought about by improved hop varieties and technological developments.
The new hops have higher brewing value, thereby reducing
the relative demand from brewers; smaller, more traditional growers
in the south of the state have not been able to compete with the
lower unit production costs of larger growers and have ceased
production almost entirely. The central argument of the thesis is
that the industry approach, particularly involving detailed study
of production on individual farms, is a valuable contribution
towards the understanding of patterns of agricultural land use as
a whole. The study examines the industry in its historical and
contemporary contexts and demonstrates the interrelatedness of
physical and economic constraints to production. It considers the
nature of political and behavioural influences and their respective
impact on the spatial arrangement of the industry.

Item Type: Thesis - Unspecified
Authors/Creators:Miller, CL
Keywords: Hops, Regional planning
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1980 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1980. Bibliography: p. 249-258

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