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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management Research » Research » Research Project #444830

Research Project: The Crop and Soil Module of the Ruminant Farm Systems (RuFaS) Model

Location: Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management Research

Project Number: 5090-21500-003-003-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2023
End Date: Aug 31, 2024

1. Complete the functional requirements and documentation of the Crop and Soil module of the RuFaS model including: a. Representation of irrigation b. Manure injection, broadcasting, and daily spread 2. Complete initial evaluation of the Crop and Soil module of the RuFaS module including: a. Assessment of prediction accuracy b. Sensitivity analysis of key model inputs and parameters

The Ruminant Farm Systems model (RuFaS) is a next-generation decision support tool that is modular, adaptable, open-source, and available to a wide range of users including industry professionals, natural resource managers, and researchers. RuFaS is built to simulate whole-farm dairy systems with four interconnected, biophysical modules (animal, manure, crop & soil, feed storage) and three systems modules (economics, environmental impact, energy). RuFaS simulates a single farm as the system boundary, is continuous in time, and uses a daily time step to pass information between modules about carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, water, and energy flow through the farm system. Users tailor model inputs and outputs to meet their information needs. RuFaS uses modern Python code and the high levels of coding standards, transparency, and documentation to ensure model flexibility, clarity, adaptability, and persistence. The software engineer (SWE) hired as part of this agreement will work with the subject matter experts (SME) on the RuFaS executive committee, the RuFaS Project manager, the RuFaS lead software engineer and the RuFaS Director to implement the remaining functional requirements for the first version of the RuFaS model within the Python codebase using the highest standards for in-line documentation and code testing coverage. The SWE will also work with the SMEs to prepare the scientific documentation, ensure it aligns with the codebase and post the documentation on the model repository. Upon completion of the functional requirements, the SWE will work with the SME to evaluate the RuFaS model. The SWE will run simulations and collect outputs to share with the SMEs to 1) ensure the model behavior aligns with expected outcomes, and 2) compare model outputs with measured experimental data on crop growth, soil nutrient cycling, runoff and leaching and GHG emissions. Finally, the SWE will initiate a Global sensitivity analysis of module inputs to the Crop and Soil module and summarize the outputs in terms of the sensitivity key outputs to the input parameters.