Forage Master: A decision tool for selecting and managing forages for New Zealand sheep and beef farms


  • J. Finlayson
  • I.M. Knowles
  • T.J. Fraser



This paper describes the development of a forage selection decision tool. The project was carried out in conjunction with Meat and Wool New Zealand and farmer mentor groups in Manawatu, Canterbury and Southland. The model uses a multi-criteria technique called Electre III which helps rank the characteristics of forages relative to environmental conditions and farmers objectives. The approach allows farmers to rank and compare suitable species and cultivars. The decision tool provides advice on appropriate seed mixes and specific information on establishment and management. In addition the model was structured to allow farmers to discover limitations to their environment or management systems through a process called 'back-chaining'. An example of this is where a farmer queries the model to discover what conditions prevented a forage from being selected. Demonstrations of the Forage Master to a range of farmer groups nationwide has provided excellent feedback on the value of the decision tool, firstly for aiding on-farm decision making and secondly, benefits associated with the information provided in the help links. Keywords: computer model, cultivars, forage, forage selection, multiple criteria, pasture species







Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 > >>