Decision Support Systems

Mathematical models coupled with databases containing necessary, but often difficult-to-access, input information and with a straightforward user-interface can provide individual producers insight into their production system that was previously unavailable. These applications of mathematical models allow individuals to pose and answer what-if questions in a matter of minutes rather than over the course of years, as would be required to address the same questions using the actual production system. Additionally, more questions can be addressed in the computer than would be feasible to pose otherwise. Using decision support systems could help producers avoid costly mistakes or missed opportunities that otherwise might not be recognized. The Decision Evaluator for the Cattle Industry (DECI) developed by the Agricultural Research Service in conjunction with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association[18] and GRAZ-plan[19] are examples of this use of mathematical models of cattle and sheep production systems.

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