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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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44 COLLOQUIUM 2 Issues and Applications of Computer Technology to Horticulture

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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.

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It is always challenging to develop innovative Extension programs delivery methods. The development of a winter chilling model (Modified 45) for Alabama, the evaluation of a growth regulator (Dormex—hydrogen cyanamide) to replace lack of chilling in peaches and the establishment of a computerized weather program allowed us to create a superior expert program for grower application. Access through a personal computer is all that is required to monitor chilling accumulation and determine the most ideal time for application of Dormex (which is very critical). This information (formerly available from NWS) is now accessible through a private weather firm. The development of a chilling hour/heat unit (growing degree hour) for peaches is showing promise of providing growers still another useful product (via their PCs) in improving orchard management via better timing of practices.

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A low-cost interactive computer program was designed to assist in teaching landscape plant material classes or any other class that could benefit from the use of computer graphics. The program was written in HyperCard to be used on any Macintosh computer. To illustrate the morphology and to assist in learning the terminology required to identify plants, a dichotomous keying system incorporating computer graphics was developed to lead the student through an interactive lesson. In the process of keying out plants, the student encounters the terminology associated with the groups of plants during the lesson. The student is introduced to plant groups, the terminology, and the concept of the classification process in one interactive lesson.

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UIPLANTS is a program developed under Microsoft Windows to help students in woody plant materials courses. Its many options include an encyclopedic format that displays 256-color high-resolution images of plant identification characteristics and ornamental features coupled with text, side by side image comparisons, “book markers” to return to selected screens, and a slide show that runs a display of images in a user-defined format. The system is being used to study how students learn information presented to them through computers and which program features are most effective in improving plant knowledge. Through computer logging of all student activity within the program and surveys given to the test groups, some basic usage patterns were derived. Students using the program with no incentive tended to use the program in a more comprehensive manner, switching back and forth between the slide show and encyclopedic entries with equal time spent in each. The comparison and “bookmark” features were used but less frequently. Half of the students, given an extra credit incentive based on time, followed this same usage pattern, but the other half simply used the slide show with minimal student–computer interaction.

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A TurboPascal computer program was developed to calculate daily water budgets and schedule irrigations. Daily water use (di) is calculated as pan evaporation (Ep) times a crop factor (CFi), where i is crop age. The water balance uses a dynamic rooting depth, the soil water holding capacity (SWC) and rainfall data (Ri). di is added to the cumulative water use (Di-1) and Ri is subtracted from Di. An irrigation in the amount of Di is recommended when Di approximates allowable water use. The program cart be adapted to most crop and soil types, and can be used for on-time irrigation scheduling or for simulating water application using past or projected weather data. This program should increase the acceptance of modem scheduling irrigation techniques by farmers and consultants. Additionally, this program may have application in an overall water management programs for farms, watersheds or other areas where water management is required.

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“OrchardSim: Design of an Apple Orchard” is a computer simulation program that was developed as a tool for students and new apple growers to understand the process involved in designing an efficient apple orchard. This program was developed on Toolbook software. It explores key elements involved in designing an apple orchard. Users are introduced to these elements and then asked to make selections for each of the following parameters: soil type, cultivar, rootstock, and management system. The goal of the program is to find compatible selections that will result in an appropriate design of a 1-acre orchard. This full-color program uses text, graphics animation, and still pictures to provide the following: introductory and review information about each parameter, opportunities for the user to make a selection for each parameter, and a check for choices made to determine compatibility. Users receive feedback for each specific choice made for each of the parameters throughout the program. This simulation presents an alternative instructional tool, whereby the user plays an active role in the learning process by practicing and reviewing information at one's own pace. OrchardSim provides users with immediate feedback and an excellent opportunity for making high-risk decisions, with no financial loss that otherwise would have been costly if the learning process were pursued in the real orchard.

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The aim of this research was to determine the seasonal patterns of N demand and uptake in mature almond trees and to use this information to develop an integrated computer model to guide fertilization management. To this end sequential whole tree excavations were conducted at 5 stages during a 15-month period. At each harvest date, five entire mature trees were excavated and partitioned into leaves, root, trunks, and branches. Samples were then analyzed for total nutrient content and differences in nutrient content between sequential harvests, which represents tree nutrient demand and tree nutrient uptake. Infromation on seasonal N uptake dynamics and total yearly N demand has now been integrated into a user-friendly interactive computer program that can be used to optimize N fertilizer management. The details of this program will be discussed. In summary, the determination of N fluxes in almond demonstrates that the majority of N uptake and demand occurs from late February through to early September and that the primary demand for N is for nut fill and nut development. N demands can therefore be predicted by estimating yield and can be applied during the periods of greatest N uptake from the soil which occurs during nut development. By timing N applications with periods of greatest demand, and matching N application rates with crop load we provide growers with a tool that will encourage maximum efficiency of use of N fertilizers. Maximum efficiency of use will result in a minimization of N loss from the orchard system.

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136 ORAL SESSION (Abstr. 651-657) CROSS-COMMODITY COMPUTERS/EXTENSION

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