Re-inventing model-based decision support with Australian dryland farmers. 1. Changing intervention concepts during 17 years of action research

McCown, R. L., Carberry, P. S., Hochman, Z., Dalgliesh, N. P. and Foale, M. A. (2009) Re-inventing model-based decision support with Australian dryland farmers. 1. Changing intervention concepts during 17 years of action research. Crop and Pasture Science, 60 11: 1017-1030. doi:10.1071/CP08455


Author McCown, R. L.
Carberry, P. S.
Hochman, Z.
Dalgliesh, N. P.
Foale, M. A.
Title Re-inventing model-based decision support with Australian dryland farmers. 1. Changing intervention concepts during 17 years of action research
Journal name Crop and Pasture Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1836-0947
1836-5795
Publication date 2009-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/CP08455
Volume 60
Issue 11
Start page 1017
End page 1030
Total pages 14
Editor John Irwin
Place of publication Collingwood, VIC, Australia
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject C1
Formatted abstract
The idea that simulation models of agricultural production can serve as tools for farmers remains a compelling idea even after 3 decades of mostly disappointing development efforts. This paper is the first in a series that reports on 17 years of systems research that used models differently from the Decision Support System idea that has dominated the field. The starting point of FARMSCAPE (Farmers’, Advisers’, Researchers’, Monitoring, Simulation, Communication And Performance Evaluation) was finding whether farmers could value simulation when conditions for appreciation were improved by (a) specifying the simulator for individual paddocks in question and (b) delivering customised simulation to decision makers as a supporting service rather than software as a decision support product. The first aim of the program has been to learn how to effectively intervene in farm management practice using complex, abstract models of croplands, specified with local soil, climate, and management data. The second aim has been to learn how a resulting service that farmers value can be delivered cost effectively by a third party.

This first paper deals with an aspect of the first aim, i.e. valued decision support intervention. In the terms used by Checkland (1981), the activities that served this systems practice aim were guided by ‘what we thought we were doing’ in intervening in farmers’ practice, i.e. our systems thinking. This first paper concerns FARMSCAPE systems thinking and how it evolved over 17 years as we learned successively through discovery of a new concept or representation in the literature to overcome limitations of the then-current conceptual framework. Subsequent papers deal with customising scientific monitoring and simulation for farmers, communication as engagement in situations of practice, understanding decision support intervention as facilitation of personal knowledge construction, and piloting commercial delivery of a simulation-based service to farmers and their advisers.
Keyword Simulation
Soft systems
Participatory research
Implementation
APISM
FARMSCAPE
Yield prophet
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 33 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 09 Apr 2010, 09:59:06 EST by Kaye Hunt on behalf of School of Land, Crop and Food Sciences