Computer Integrated On-Line Weather Station and Water Management For Typical Crops.
A computer tool for farm managers with on-line weather station will help to ameliorate two present day water management concerns: nonpoint source nitrate pollution and the availability of spatially appropriate weather data. Development and successful implementation of a widely acceptable and relevant computer system for farm management necessitates input from the farmers/users. This information includes basic physical farm data (such as farm area) and croplwater cultivation practices. It is also important to gauge the current level of computer technology on the farm and its acceptance. Farm manager's perceptions of the benefits of a computer system, and what components such a program should have, must also be identified. To collect this data a farm/computer survey was drafted by Jiin Law and Brett Young. The results of this survey were used as a basis for the design of a widely-applicable computer-based management system.
A total of one hundred and forty eight surveys were mailed to farms in Southern Ontario. Forty eight were mailed back to the School of Engineering, representing a return rate of 32%. The average farm area was six hundred and thirty acres (Table 13.1),a significant size especially in terms of impact, on local streams, from agricultural runoff. The average number of years the farm operated under the same management was nineteen years. Managers or potential system users are therefore unlikely to change very rapidly so that the project can expect a measure of continuity. Also constant is the wide use of corn and its inclusion in most crop rotations. For these reasons, and the fact that most farm managers have grown the same crops for more than five years, corn is a focus of the computer management system.
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