- ROBBERT Associates, Ottawa, Ontario
Evaluation Summary (Tech. Transfer Report Summaries)
View / Download Final Report [436 KB pdf]
Associated SWEEP/LSP Research
Completed: October, 1991
model, economics, yield, organic matter, corn, soil loss, no-till,
This is the final report on Phase I of the project undertaken by ROBBERT
Associates as part of the Technology Evaluation and
Development (TED) Sub-Program of the Soil and Water
Environmental Enhancement Program (SWEEP). The project consisted of
the design and implementation of a prototype computer-based farm management
simulation framework that can be used at the level of the individual farm
to examine the impact of tillage and cropping decisions on soil quality,
nutrient loss to runoff, and farm income. The objective was to determine
whether modelling techniques might be useful to effect the transfer of technology
from the scientific community to the farm.
2. Project structure
The project was carried out by Michael Hoffman, Robert Hoffman and Bert
McInnis of ROBBERT Associates working with an advisory group consisting
of Bob Fletcher, Dave Charlton and George Schell of Ecological Services
for Planning, Don Lobb and Doug Smith (both farmers), Wally Findlay of Agriculture
Canada, and John Schleihauf from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and
The project commenced in June, 1990 and was concluded in March 1991.
The advisory group met on four occasions with ROBBERT Associates, July 13,
1990, November 29, 1990, March 27, 1991, and April 11, 1991. Both the April
and March meetings involved interaction with the computer system.
A poster presentation was displayed at the TED
Tillage 2000 Conference held in London on March 4-5, 1991. A copy of
the handout that accompanied the poster is appended to this report.
3. Structure of the Farm Management Framework
The structure of the Farm Management Framework (FMF) is documented in
the FMF Manual (Ref. 10). The Farm Management Framework consists of fifteen
calculators or independently executable submodels organized in a hierarchy
composed of five major components:
Cropping component that represents all aspects of crop production including
Livestock component that represents all aspects of the production of
dairy and livestock products;
Crop and Manure Balance component that keeps track of the interdependence
between cropping and livestock operations;
Equipment component that keeps track of the equipment needed for field
operations and its utilization in terms of operator time and fuel;
Farm Finance component that represents the elements farm income and
outlay separately for cropping and livestock operations and a capital
The Framework is designed to simulate farm operations to a time horizon
of fifty years from the present. Calculations are performed with a one year
(From Technology Transfer Report Summaries - A. Hayes, L. Cruickshank,
A computer model was developed to simulate the effect of farm management
techniques. The program is intended to support the analysis of alternative
farm management strategies. The Farm Management Framework consists of five
components (cropping, livestock, crop and manure balance, equipment and
farm finance). The model simulates farm operations for a period of fifty
years from the present, with calculations made every year.
An artificial farm consisting of four 40 hectare fields was created.
Each field was similar in size, soil type and organic matter content but
differed in topography. Two scenarios were run: (1) continuous corn grown
on all four fields using conventional tillage and (2) corn underseeded with
rye grown on all four fields using no-till cultivation. The output, in the
form of graphs, provides an interesting picture of what could happen in
The report suggests that further development is needed to improve the
structure of the model, to incorporate better scientific data on soil and
crop characteristics, and to calibrate the model on a small number of farms.
This appears to be a good start towards developing a model which could
be used to illustrate to farmers the effect of their current or proposed
farm management system on farm income, soil loss, organic matter content
and crop yield for a period of 50 years. At this stage it is a long way
from widespread use as an extension tool.
SWEEP Report #38 - Management of Farm Field
Variability. I. Quantification of Soil Loss in Complex Topography. II. Soil
Erosion Processes on Shoulder Slope Landscape Positions.
SWEEP Report #45 - Management of Farm Field
Variability. III. Effect of Tillage Systems on Soil and Phosphorus Loss
SWEEP Report #46 - Management of Farm Field
Variability. IV. Crop Yield, Tillage System, and Soil Landform Relationships
SWEEP Report #49B - Land Reshaping of Lowland
Clay Soils II. Modelling Report
Future Research: ( ) indicates reviewers suggestion for
priority, A - high, C - low.
(C) Further develop the model for use as an extension tool as the report
Thursday, May 19, 2011 02:52:02 PM