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T.R. Roper, D.L. Mahr, and P. Kaarakka

Cranberry Crop Manager is a predictive software package for commercial cranberry growers. The package consists of linked modules. Predictive models for insect, disease, and weed development are the most important features. With appropriate weather and scouting information the models will make control or no control recommendations. To support the predictive models the program will maintain weather records of air temperatures, evapotranspiration, irrigation, and rainfall. Data can be imported or entered by hand. The program will maintain bed records including pesticide applicators, pesticide and fertilizer applications, and scouting reports. Output options include screen or printed reports or data export. An electronic encyclopedia of cranberry disease, insect and weed pests on CD will accompany the package. Minimum computer requirements are 486 CPU, 6 MB RAM, 6 MB hard drive space.

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Kent D. Kobayashi

The simulation programs Stella® (High Performance Systems) and Extend™ (Imagine That!) were used on Apple® Macintosh® computers in a graduate course on crop modeling to develop crop simulation models. Students developed models as part of their homework and laboratory assignments and their semester project Stella offered the advantage of building models using a relational diagram displaying state, rate, driving, and auxiliary variables. Arrows connecting the variables showed the relationships among the variables as information or material flows. Stella automatically kept track of differential equations and integration. No complicated programming was required of the students. Extend used the idea of blocks representing the different parts of a system. Lines connected the inputs and outputs to and from the different blocks. Extend was more flexible than Stella by giving the students the opportunity to do their own programming in a language similar to C. Also, with its dialog boxes, Extend more easily allowed the students to run multiple simulations answering “What if” questions. Both programs quickly enabled students to develop crop simulation models without the hindrance of extensive learning of a programming language or delving deeply into the mathematics of modeling.

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Steven H. Schwartzkopf

The use of computerized environmental control systems for greenhouses and plant growth chambers is increasing in frequency. Computerized systems provide the potential for more accurate environmental control, while at the same time allowing changes to be made more easily than with hard-wired mechanical control systems. The ease of changing allows switching sensor types, relocating sensors and resetting control parameters without significantly affecting the overall system design. Another advantage of computerized control systems is that they provide a method for recording environmental data as they simultaneously implement their programmed control algorithms. This data can subsequently be transferred to other computers for further processing and analysis. Computerized controls also support the possibility of implementing environmental control based on either mathematical models which simulate plant growth, or on actual monitored plant performance data such as nutrient uptake or leaf temperature. This paper discusses in detail these and other advantages of using computerized environmental control systems, as well as describing the problems and disadvantages associated with their implementation and use.

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Laura Lehman-Salada, K. Hickey, and T. Salada

Agricultural research often involves collecting numerical data in the field, orechard or greenhouse. Traditionally, horticulturists have recorded numerical data by hand and then manually entered the information into a computer or calculator for statistical analysis. In the last decade data loggers and portable computers have made data collection and analysis easier and more efficient. A palmtop computer is a small, lightweight instrument that combines the best characteristics of data loggers and portable computers. In our trial, palmtop computers equipped with a spreadsheet software program were ideal for numerical data entry in the field and were a cost-effective alternative to other devices.

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Ann Marie VanDerZanden and Erika Kirsch

The Internet has become a tool used in business, education, and leisure pursuits. Extension has used the Internet in a variety of ways including the training of extension staff and volunteers and the dissemination of information. In 2001, a survey was developed to determine the comfort level, familiarity, and use of computers and the Internet by active Oregon Master Gardeners (MGs). Basic demographic data was also collected. We found that 85% of respondents use computers and are very comfortable with computers and the Internet. This extensive use and comfort level suggests that the Internet may be an acceptable alternative to the traditional face-to-face training method for some Oregon MGs.

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Robert W. Boufford

With the increasing use of computers in the horticulture industry, advisory committees are recommending computer literacy training. Database management software is a tool students can use to enhance the learning of plants and obtain handson experience with computers. Students in an herbaceous plant materials course develop a plant database and create a companion flash card set from printed database records and pictures. Benefits of the project are: Improved memorization of plant information, enhanced information research skills, and use of a tool in later design activities. Other horticulturally related courses, including woody plant materials and pest management, can use the activities to achieve similar benefits.

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Diane Relf, Ellen Silva, and Virginia Nathan

In 1985 an extension consumer horticulture computer information system (HORT) was initiated on the Virginia Tech mainframe computer to mitigate the demands on agents' time while providing monthly professional updates and accurate, timely information for use in their local programs. Agents access the information through their office microcomputers, which are linked to the Virginia Tech mainframe computer. Agents can transfer the needed information onto a diskette for reference, immediate use, or further editing or print a hard copy on campus to be mailed to them. Slide sets or videotapes can be ordered from the Virginia Tech Learning Resource Center (LRC) on this system. The monthly releases are available at no charge to anyone in the land-grant system with a BITNET or Internet user identification number.

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G.W. Lightner

MARYBLYT is a computer model system that was developed to assist growers when making management decisions regarding the control of fire blight. This disease is potentially devastating to pome fruit orchards and has traditionally been difficult and expensive to control. The collaboration between the Univ. of Maryland and the USDA Agricultural Research Service to develop MARYBLYT is reviewed to provide information that should be considered when such an effort is undertaken to address any research need using computer applications. Specifically, the development of the software for the MARYBLYT system is presented.

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Ruth Y. Iwata, Kent Fleming, and Scott Campbell

AgNet-Hawaii is a computer-based information transfer system (CBIS) established at the Beaumont Agricultural Research Center in Hilo, Hawaii to improve communication among research, extension and farmers on the island of Hawaii and with the island of Oahu. AgNet-Hawaii is one node of a Pacific-wide network of CBIS nodes, whose hub is the Coconut Telegraph CBIS on the Manoa Campus of the University of Hawaii on Oahu.

AgNet-Hawaii has file and conference areas, the capability of uploading and downloading files, issuing bulletins, and sending files attached to messages. Access is by computer and modem with the following modem protocols: Telephone (808) 969-3025 (AgNet-Hawaii), (808) 956-2626 (Coconut Telegraph), Data Bits: 8, Parity: N, Stop Bits: 1, Speed: 300/1200/2400/9600/14.4K bps.

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Robin G. Brumfield

The computer program Greenhouse Cost Accounting, available for DOS-based microcomputers and Macintosh computers, is described. The software enables the user to perform cost accounting and to determine the profitability of greenhouse crops. The information can be used by managers to analyze various production, financial, and marketing strategies. The Greenhouse Cost Accounting program uses cost information typically found on income statements and direct cost information for each crop. From these inputs, the program allocates as many costs as possible to individual crops. The remaining unallocated costs are assigned to each crop on a per square-foot-week basis. The computer output provides information on costs and returns on a per crop, per unit, and per square-foot basis. It also provides an income statement showing total costs, allocated costs, and unallocated costs. The output can aid the manager in making decisions about pricing, reducing unprofitable production, controlling costs, and increasing sales of profitable crops. The program also can be used by greenhouse management classes or for extension workshops.