The potential uses of on-farm computers in management and the problems in these uses are analyzed. The analysis is based on a study of present uses of on-farm computers in Sweden. The results are compared with experiences from other countries. On-farm computer owners use almost the same management methods as before the computer investment. The main difference is that they used to hire service organizations to do some of the management tasks and now they are doing it by themselves with the aid of the computer. Thus, the on-farm computer owners have to have the same knowledge level as the service agents and advisers. The use of on-farm computers has so far affected the processing and storage of data for farm management purposes. A potential next step is communication of data from external computer systems at suppliers, customers, advisers and other farmers as well as automated data capture within the farm. One hindrance for this development is the lack of standardization of data and concept definitions. If this potential was realized the marginal costs of data and information would decrease. It would be profitable to use more information in the farm management, i.e. to develop the farm management functions. When farmers develop their management methods they will need still more knowledge. Service agents and advisers would have to change from doing management tasks for farmers to teaching farmers how to do these tasks and supporting farmers in the interpretation and analysis of information.


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