Land-use planning can be a means to enlarge farms. Lots that belong to farmers who quit can be sold to the remaining farmers. Land-use planning can provide strategies for the exchange of lots, in order to reduce the distance from the farm buildings to each lot.

Mechanized agriculture requires optimized production conditions. Only when the circumstances are optimized, can the production take place as efficiently as possible. In most processes, economies of scale occur when the amount processed increases. This is also the case in agriculture. The fields have to have a certain area for the machinery to be able to produce efficiently. The smaller the field, the more time that is spent on turning and the more area that is lost at the edges (in relation to the yields), as is shown in Fig. 2.9.

However, farmers of all size of operations tend to enlarge their farms, more for the increase in income than for the decrease in costs per unit [26]. This applies to the field level as well as to the farm level.

Farm size is influenced by a number of factors. These factors have been given for California [27], but they apply to most other developed countries. They include government politics, taxation, the product marketing system, labor costs, energy use, mechanization, and the rural community. If land-use planning is used to enlarge farms, these factors have to be taken into account to ascertain the mutual influence of these factors and farm size.

Figure 2.9. Losses on edges and corners (jaar = year; gld = dutch guilder = approx. U.S. $0.5). Source: [31].

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