Keywords: hierarchical decision modelling, analytical hierarchy process, AHP, decision making, agriculture, wheat farming, technology development envelope, TDE, USA, United States, spring wheat, wheat varieties, profitability, yield, operating costs, grain, milling, product quality, pest resistance, seed costs
Hierarchical modelling applied to agriculture: wheat planting decisions in the Pacific Northwest
This paper presents a hierarchical decision model that predicted Alturas soft white spring wheat would be the best spring wheat variety to plant in the Pacific Northwest in 2006. Profitability depends on changing market demands and competition with other crops. The challenge of wheat farming is sustaining profitability. A four level hierarchical decision model approach was selected for this research. The top level or mission was to maximise profitability. Quality, yield and operating costs goals were placed at the next level of the hierarchy, and grain, milling, end-product quality, pest resistance and seed costs were placed at a third level. Wheat varieties were placed at the lowest level. The model predicted which wheat to plant from the lowest level would have the highest likelihood of achieving the mission, at the highest level, of maximising the profit. Pairwise comparisons were completed for each level of the model. Quantitative data was collected for three soft white spring wheat cultivars, two hard red spring wheat cultivars, and two hard white spring wheat cultivars.