The theory of sampling applied to livestock estimating: A statistical analysis of the individual farm sample
Accurate information concerning changes in numbers of different kinds of livestock on farms from year to year is fundamental to a proper economic appraisal of the livestock industry of the United States. The amount and direction of such changes could be most accurately determined by a complete enumeration or census each year. Such an enumeration has not been practicable because of the cost and the large amount of time required for tabulation. To approximate the needed information the United States Department of Agriculture has estimated the numbers of each species of livestock on farms as of January 1 each year since 1867.The demand for current statistical information relative to all kinds of agricultural production has increased greatly during recent years. More accurate and detailed information relative to the livestock industry of the country is being requested by an increasing number of farmers and dealers. The Department of Agriculture has met this demand in the form of a larger number of more detailed reports covering the more important phases of the livestock industry. The basis for most of these reports, however, is an accurate estimate of the number of each species of livestock at the beginning of the year, since the basis of production during the year is largely the amount of breeding stock available for the year's operations. It is important, therefore, to know whether livestock numbers have increased or decreased from the beginning to the end of the year.