Integrated Procedures for Evaluating Technical, Environmental and Economical Aspects in Farms: The SIPEAA Project

Donatelli M., Acutis M., Danuso F., Mazzetto F., Nasuelli P., Nelson R., Omicini A., Speroni M., Trevisan M., Tugnoli V.

Paper presented to VII European Society fo Agronomy Congress, Cordoba 15-18 July, 2002

The often contrasting and evolving goals between producers and policy makers to satisfy consumer, ecologic, economic and social requirements that have increased in recent history, require the evaluation of agricultural systems with an equally adaptable perspective. Producers have long term intimate knowledge about the effect of production factors on yield in their environment, but often lack knowledge about the ecological effects of their systems. Farmers may have mastery of the management options in order to achieve both yield stability and profitability in slow changing systems, but often lack information needed to adapt to fast changing regulations and/or environmental conditions. From the policy makersí perspective, the wide variability of environments, agricultural practices, economic and social constraints have frequently demonstrated that there is no unique package of solutions to achieve the expectation of both producers and consumers. Policy makers would benefit by tools designed to evaluate a broad range of complex scenarios to produce regulations that would define the parameters for production techniques that would effectively satisfy the requirements of their constituency. In many situations, extension services are ready to provide assistance on specific aspects of crop management, but they are not properly equipped to help producers adjust their agricultural systems to accommodate the at times substantial changes needed to cope with new regulations. In recent decades significant advances have been made in the development of computer based tools and particularly computer simulation models for application to agricultural systems and may provide an effective way to bring the agricultural policy and production goal perspectives into resolution. Both interdisciplinary integration and the subsequent development of operational tools have several challenges for further progress. Integrating well documented models which refer to different domains of the farming system would provide an approach to evaluate agriculture management strategies accounting for the wide variety of goals and constraints in many countries.

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