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Jeffrey W. Burcaw, Bruce W. Wood, and Michael W. Poole

A decision support system (DSS) is described that quantitatively analyzes certain important light climate characteristics of crops planted in discrete canopy, hedgerow, or trellis cropping systems. The DSS facilitates rapid and efficient calculation of the theoretical maximum shading (or, conversely, the theoretical minimum level of insolation) for use in determining the planting pattern that minimizes canopy shading during user-specified temporal intervals. It addresses canopy shading in field plantings within a wide variety of geometric patterns, interplant spacings, canopy sizes and forms, global latitudes, pattern orientations, site reliefs and aspects. Calculations describe insolation characteristics during any hour(s) of the day or day(s) of the year within the range of planting parameters. The DSS functions as a systems tool, or module, for design of the spatial subsystem component of a particular cropping strategy where horticulturally important traits are regulated by the light climate.

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Jeffrey W. Burcaw, Bruce W. Wood, and Michael W. Pool

The authors have developed a mathematical model designed for shade-intolerant tree crops which describes the amount of intertree shading in an orchard. These data are used to formulate an optimal orchard design based on shading reduction in orchards for any tree crop during any developmental window at any global location for either continuous canopy hedgerows or non-intersecting canopies for several different orchard geometries. Variables include tree shape, orchard geometry intertree spacing, row orientation, time and day of year, and geographical coordinates. Optimal orchard designs are based upon the total amount of unshaded canopy surface per unit area which each orchard configuration confers. Results indicate extensive variability of intertree shading between hedgerow and non-intersecting canopies to be largely a function of latitude, regardless of other variables.