About this book
A fast-growing interest in the concepts and application of systems research has spawned a wide and general literature over the past decade. Most disciplinary areas have been touched, but commerce, engineering and military studies have, perhaps, been best served with outstanding texts. No provision has so far been made for a general book at introductory level of direct relevance to agricultural science, technology and management. General reviews are, of course, valuable to the agricultural-systems researcher but agricultural systems, with important biological components interacting with equally vital social and economic elements, embody particular characteristics which influence the approach to their study. This book is written in the belief that the concepts as well as the technology of the systems approach have a basic role in the rational advancement of the agricultural discipline and in the improvement of efficiency in agricultural research and practice. A basic and introductory text is an essential pre requisite to this role being realised. A reiteration of basic concepts is expressed in the introductory chapter while in the final chapter particular attention is given to the general problems of integrating systems concepts in research, extension and practice. The dialogue of these chapters is necessarily brief and in some respects speculative but it is supported by appropriate bibliography. The main body of the text is concerned with the methodology of systems research; the conception, construction, implementation, validation and exploitation of computer-based simulation models of agricultural systems.