PCRANCH

 

PCRANCH Version 2008

PCRANCH is a computer program for simulating cow-calf herd dynamics over a long time horizon. It is written in the C++ programming language and runs under the Windows operating system. PCRANCH consists of three components.

The first component is the input interface which consists of range (physical characteristics of the farm), herd (animal numbers and type), block (land allocation), weather (climate data), and parameters (management) dialog boxes. The user enters all input data in these dialog boxes.

The second component is the run interface. It runs the simulation engine, CCFARM, which is written in the Java programming language as a separate program and gets its input as a series of text files from PCRANCH.

The third component is the output interface which consists of a series of reports and graphs, generated from the output files of the CCFARM simulation engine.

One difficulty for most research-oriented simulation systems is its user interface which is written to be used by the researcher and not by ranchers. The PCRANCH software package addresses this problem by decoupling CCFARM from its research-oriented user interface and coupling it with a friendlier rancher-oriented user interface without modifying the original user interface of the simulation program or reducing its capabilities. This approach allows the simulation program written in a different programming language to be used by researchers with its original user interface and at the same time to be used by ranchers with the new user interface written in another programming language by a separate team of programmers. This method has great potential for other research-oriented simulation programs to make them accessible by general users. Expected release date: Late 2008.

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