EVERY AUTHOR who has written about madder became convinced that it was one of the most profitable crops known. The variety of calculations set out below may have more relevance to agricultural and social conditions than financial disciplines. The accounts bear witness to the popularity and ingenuity of different methods used in the Caucasus, France, Holland and England. Most methods separate cultivation from the heavy capital requirements of the drying, crushing and grinding processes. Paul Rix, of Deloitte & Touche’s agricultural accountancy division, appropriately based in Cambridge, kindly sent me a modern bench-marking method for a parallel crop-asparaguswhich has a 12-year life. The problem is to assess crop efficiency in terms of both return per acre and return on capital.