Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A World of Estimation

I can’t remember when first I became enamored of estimation.

I ran through an exercise downtown yesterday, making an estimate of how much per month a company spends on a specific manual process ($6,250 per month, which makes my solution look cheap!)

At supper with a friend I am asked “What is your favorite meal?”; she was looking for the answer “Lamb”, for I miss lamb.

We don’t eat much lamb in Ontario, because it is not a common meat; in restaurants and diners it is scarce; in supermarkets it is close-to-non-existent; out in the countryside sheep are rarely seen.

Why? It is cold here, but surely no worse than it gets on the Pennines and Moors of England?

I Started Thinking of the Market

Say 2,500,000 people live in Toronto city. Say 2.5 to a family (probably a bit low, but close enough).

Suppose they had Roast Leg of lamb once a week.

That’s 1,000,000 legs of lamb and that makes … 250,000 lambs.

Of course, there’s all the lamb chops etc., so if we just say “A family eats lamb once a week”, we might need of the order of 100,000 sheep to be slaughtered each week.

How many sheep graze on an acre? I have no real idea, but I estimate that on the rich farmland that has not yet been built over, around 10. (I’m thinking of one or two sheep per ¼-acre house lot).

That means we need 10,000 acres per week for sheep to supply Toronto. That seems a bit high.

We Eat Chicken in Ontario

Chicken is cheap (I know: “cheep!”).

On a ¼-acre house lot I estimate one could run a hundred chickens, against the 2.5 sheep.

So running chickens would cost only 1/40th of the land cost of running sheep.

So I’d expect the cost of lamb to be ROUGHLY 40 times the cost of chickens.

After supper we adjourned to a No Frills, budget supermarket. I found stewing lamb at $18/Kg and huge turkeys at 0.99c/lb, so to a first degree of approximation my logic is correct.

Makes Me Feel Good!

Talk to Me !

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