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The Brigalow Scheme has been one of Australia's largest dryland development projects since World War II. Large sums of private and public capital have been invested to create 247 new farm firms. Planning the development of these new properties is a complex task. A simulation model of the typical block in Area III of the Brigalow Scheme has been constructed and used to evaluate experimentally the financial performance of various growth strategies. Use of a conjugate directions search procedure with this model has allowed growth strategies to be identified which maximize net worth subject to a low risk of financial failure. These strategies are compared with development programmes which have already been implemented. Significant conclusions are reached both with respect to future management strategies and future land development policies. Methodological advances incorporated in the simulation model are also discussed.


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