System analysis and definition of system boundaries

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The objectives of deliverable 3.1 are to identify the scope of a farm management information system (FMIS) and identifies the conceptual system framework, which will guide the evolutionary process of analysing the information flow; define the databases, the knowledge encoding, the requirements for on-line control, etc. The specific output from deliverable 3.1 becomes the preliminary scope and system boundaries and will function as the starting point from which the expectations and constraining requirements to the system can be further explored. Deliverable 3.1 will lay the qualitative foundation for the requirements analysis in other subtasks. This report identifies the system boundaries for the entities which will be included in the subsequent analyses and developments. Formally, the system analysis will consist of narrowing down and further elaborate on the drivers and preliminary system identifications in WP1 and WP2 by conceptually modelling the actors, processes, information flows, etc. in the constrained arable farm system and selected external entities. This activity will also build on existing research on farmer’s decision making behaviour in information-intensive agriculture. The results from the study have included the derivation of a baseline system involving crop and farm production, operations management and the use of farm management standards for production as well as monitoring and compliance. An analysis of the farm manager has identified the internal as well as external conflicts and problems that the farm manager currently faces. Based on this analysis, the boundary of the targeted system was defined and within the context of these boundaries a description of the proposed system were derived and a conceptual model were set up. The system analysis used a Soft System Methodology (SSM) approach, providing the guidelines for system identification and system design aimed at proposing an integrated FMIS that can support real-time management decisions and support reporting as well as application generation and improvement of the monitoring of compliance to management standards.

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