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Decision support systems in Australian agriculture: state of the art and future development

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  • Nguyen, Nam C.
  • Wegener, Malcolm K.
  • Russell, Iean W.
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    Abstract

    This paper reports and discusses the results of a survey conducted among experts working in the field of decision support systems (DSS) in Australian agriculture. It also reviews the literature on DSS in the light of these experts’ responses. The findings from this survey have consolidated our understanding of the current state of DSS in Australian agriculture. The uptake of DSS by farmers has been slow and various issues said to be contributing to this include fear of using computers, time constraints, poor marketing, complexity, lack of local relevance, lack of end-user involvement, and mismatched objectives between developers and users. The future prospects for the development of DSS were generally regarded as poor. Nevertheless, the authors believe that new DSS which embrace suggested criteria for developing them could be widely accepted by farmers. These criteria mean that to be widely used by farmers, any successful DSS needs to address widespread problems: they need to be location specific, and gain strong support from initial users. They also need to be simple to use, relevant, effective, low cost, and user-friendly, and it is most likely that farmers would have been involved in their development. We believe that farmers’ personalities, and their attitudes towards risk management and decision making, will influence the pattern of adoption of DSS in Australian agriculture while the intergenerational change that is occurring in the management of Australian farms is a positive factor that may encourage more widespread use of these tools.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Australasian Farm Business Management Network in its journal AFBM Journal.

    Volume (Year): 04 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 1/2 ()
    Pages:

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    Handle: RePEc:ags:afbmau:122229

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    Web page: http://www.csu.edu.au/faculty/science/saws/afbm
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    Related research

    Keywords: DSS; farmers’ decision-making; management decisions; Farm Management;

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    1. Malcolm, Bill, 1990. "Fifty Years of Farm Management in Australia: Survey and Review," Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 58(01), April.
    2. Hayman, P. T. & Easdown, W. J., 2002. "An ecology of a DSS: reflections on managing wheat crops in the northeastern Australian grains region with WHEATMAN," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 57-77, October.
    3. McCown, R. L., 2002. "Locating agricultural decision support systems in the troubled past and socio-technical complexity of `models for management'," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 11-25, October.
    4. Hammer, G. L. & Hansen, J. W. & Phillips, J. G. & Mjelde, J. W. & Hill, H. & Love, A. & Potgieter, A., 2001. "Advances in application of climate prediction in agriculture," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 70(2-3), pages 515-553.
    5. Keating, B. A. & McCown, R. L., 2001. "Advances in farming systems analysis and intervention," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 70(2-3), pages 555-579.
    6. Hochman, Z. & Pearson, C. J. & Litchfield, R. W., 1994. "Users' attitudes and roles in the development and evaluation of knowledge based decision support systems for agricultural advisers," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 217-235.
    7. Meinke, H. & Baethgen, W. E. & Carberry, P. S. & Donatelli, M. & Hammer, G. L. & Selvaraju, R. & Stockle, C. O., 2001. "Increasing profits and reducing risks in crop production using participatory systems simulation approaches," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 70(2-3), pages 493-513.
    8. Macadam, R. & Britton, I. & Russell, D. & Potts, W. & Baillie, B. & Shaw, A., 1990. "The use of soft systems methodology to improve the adoption by Australian cotton growers of the siratac computer-based crop management system," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 1-14.
    9. Pannell, David J. & Malcolm, Bill & Kingwell, Ross S., 2000. "Are we risking too much? Perspectives on risk in farm modelling," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 23(1), pages 69-78, June.
    10. McCown, R. L., 2002. "Changing systems for supporting farmers' decisions: problems, paradigms, and prospects," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 179-220, October.
    11. Cox, P. G., 1996. "Some issues in the design of agricultural decision support systems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 52(2-3), pages 355-381.
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