Short-run production function
The short-run production function:  An example

The following table is based on a simple production function of a maize farmer.  The units of land, which are shown in the first column, constitute the fixed input, while the units of labour, shown in the second column, constitute the variable input.  In column three the total output (in tons), also called the total product (TP), shows the maximum quantities of output (in tons) that can be produced with the various combinations of fixed inputs and variable inputs.  According to the table, if one unit of labour is employed, the total product is equal to 16 tons of maize.  Employing two units of labour the total product is 44 tons, three units of labour produces 78 tons of maize, etcetera.

This simple production function can also be represented with the aid of a graph. The units of labour are measured on the horizontal axis while the total product is measured on the vertical axis.  By clicking on the units of labour one can see  the corresponding point on the production function. 
 
Units of land Units of labour
(N)
Total 
product (TP)
(tons)
20 0
20 16
20 44
20 78
20 113
20 145
20 171
20 190
20 200
20 200
20 187

A range where the total product increases at an increasing rate, a range where the total product increases at a diminishing rate, a range where the total product is unchanged and then begins to decline, can be distinguished. (more)