Using AusFarm

Typically, use of AusFarm will follow these steps:

1. Determine what question that AusFarm is to answer, and therefore what information a simulation (or simulations) with AusFarm needs to generate. This is the most important step in the process.


2. Construct a simulation that represents the biophysical and management system under consideration.

(a) Create a simulation window, or open an existing simulation file that is suited to the question at hand.

(b) Configure the simulation to include representations of all the processes that are important in understanding the biophysical problem.

(c) Specify the initial conditions of the simulation: the locality for which weather data are to be used, the attributes of soils, plants and animals on the first day of the simulation, costs and prices, etc.

(d) If necessary, describe the management of the biophysical system by writing a management script.

(e) Select the outputs to be stored for later viewing.


3. Run the simulation. Answering a question will often require several slightly different simulations. If so, the user can make copies of the first simulation quickly and easily and then adjust the copies. AusFarm allows several simulations to be executed simultaneously.


4. Once the simulations are complete, the user can extract various kinds of outputs and present them in a report. It may also be useful to export information from AusFarm to another program such as a spreadsheet or statistics package for further analysis.


Note: Beyond a certain level of complexity, it becomes almost inevitable that a simulation will not work as intended the first time it is run. It is the user's responsibility to store and examine outputs from the simulations to ensure that their structure, initial values and management script are working as intended. Various logging options are available to assist in this process.

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