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Computer Program Helps Farmers Make Decisions About Pastureland

Date:
April 5, 2005
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
A team in Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is leading the development of the Pastureland Management System (PLMS), a free, practical, and portable computer-based aid program that helps livestock farmers compare different strategies for managing their land and livestock.

Blacksburg, Va., March 11, 2005 -- A team in Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is leading the development of the Pastureland Management System (PLMS), a free, practical, and portable computer-based aid program that helps livestock farmers compare different strategies for managing their land and livestock.

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The system's goal is to seasonally balance forage produced on the farm and forage needed by livestock.

John Galbraith, assistant professor of crop and soil environmental sciences, said, "Unlike the real-world experience, when trying the computer model, the farmer is not forced to invest anything more than a few minutes of time to test the potential improvements to be gained from rotational grazing."

Using PLMS, a farmer can explore using intensive grazing, manipulating stocking rates, and modifying forage species to improve productivity and profit, while also benefiting the environment.

PLMS provides nearly instant feedback on how user-generated alternative grazing systems affect critical variables like farm profit, milk production, and pounds of beef to market. It also estimates the environmental consequences of alternative plans from effects on soil erosion to influences on greenhouse-gas emissions.

A multidisciplinary team, including representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), ISIS Labs, LLC, and Virginia Tech, is developing PLMS. Funding has been provided by NRCS, as well as by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Ruminant Livestock Efficiency Program (RLEP), and a Southern Region Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education (SARE) Program Training and Education Grant.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Tech. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "Computer Program Helps Farmers Make Decisions About Pastureland." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 April 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050329125558.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (2005, April 5). Computer Program Helps Farmers Make Decisions About Pastureland. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050329125558.htm
Virginia Tech. "Computer Program Helps Farmers Make Decisions About Pastureland." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050329125558.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

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