Plenary and Invited Papers Section 3: Delivering the Benefits from Grassland

Description

“Models in grassland science have come to stay, and so they must be made to pay for their keep. To do that, it will be necessary to improve their scientific sophistication and their management relevance...” (Seligman, 1993).

Decision support (DS) tools in grassland agriculture have also come to stay. This review will examine the ways and means by which DS tools are being made to pay for their keep, with a focus upon DS efforts from the last decade and on the lessons that arise for those who develop DS tools for grasslands. A survey of the present state of grassland DS is presented, and a case made that there are grounds for modest optimism. As a more detailed case study, the history and impact of GrassGro (a simulation-based DS tool that has been in use since 1997; Moore et al., 1997) will be revisited. Lastly, some trends in technology and practice that will determine the effectiveness of DS tools in the coming decade will be examined. Throughout the review, the focus will be on those parts of the world where agriculture is well developed; consequently the term ‘grasslands’ should be read with this geographic caveat. A companion paper (Donnelly et al., 2005) addresses a number of technical issues in DS tool development and expands some points that are only touched on here.

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Paying for Our Keep: Grasslands Decision Support in More-Developed Countries

“Models in grassland science have come to stay, and so they must be made to pay for their keep. To do that, it will be necessary to improve their scientific sophistication and their management relevance...” (Seligman, 1993).

Decision support (DS) tools in grassland agriculture have also come to stay. This review will examine the ways and means by which DS tools are being made to pay for their keep, with a focus upon DS efforts from the last decade and on the lessons that arise for those who develop DS tools for grasslands. A survey of the present state of grassland DS is presented, and a case made that there are grounds for modest optimism. As a more detailed case study, the history and impact of GrassGro (a simulation-based DS tool that has been in use since 1997; Moore et al., 1997) will be revisited. Lastly, some trends in technology and practice that will determine the effectiveness of DS tools in the coming decade will be examined. Throughout the review, the focus will be on those parts of the world where agriculture is well developed; consequently the term ‘grasslands’ should be read with this geographic caveat. A companion paper (Donnelly et al., 2005) addresses a number of technical issues in DS tool development and expands some points that are only touched on here.