Decision Support Tool for Digifarmers – STRATE-GEEK

Creating a Decision Support Tool that assesses the consequences of decisions in order to support the strategic decision-making by farmers.


Concept 

A farm is a complex ecosystem where all the performance criteria must be assessed before setting up a strategy. To define the best strategy for their field, farmers need to anticipate the consequences of each decision as it impacts economic, social and environmental factors. This Flagship Innovation Experiment (FIE) addresses agriculture’s multifunctionality with a Decision Support Tool (DST), providing farmers and advisors with help in their strategic decision-making. Standardised and scientifically robust calculation methods are at the centre of this multi-criteria evaluation tool. They can precisely describe the functioning of a cropping system and assess the impact of individual choices in real-time.

The SYSTERRE® tool helps to diagnose cropping systems and to design innovative and sustainable alternatives.

Strate-GEEK was created with the vision of developing a Decision Support Tool (DST) on strategic choices on the farm. The Strate-GEEK consortium aims at improving the SYSTERRE® tool, opening it to more users. The DST developed by Strate-GEEK will be based on a web version of SYSTERRE® where indicators will be provided by API, from ACTA Informatique. This FIE, led by ARVALIS, will bring together farmers, advisers and economic operators to better understand their needs around such a tool. The Digifermes® and TERRASOLIS will support ARVALIS on the testing and deployment of the tool.

As a result of user participation, this FIE improves already existing calculation methods and indicators in order to adapt the functionalities to their specific needs. All the calculations carried out by the DST’s underlying engine will be available as Application Programming Interface (API) to provide an open-access innovation ecosystem, thereby facilitating farmer’s flexibility through interoperability.

Implementation 

 

The implementation phase of this FIE was divided into 3 main activities: 

- The development on the web and with API of SYSTERRE®

- Design thinking 

- Deployment of the DSM through training and demonstration sessions 

Lessons Learnt

The challenges encountered are mainly related to the finalisation of the website development. Due to latency in loading pages and Daplos import (interoperability), technical choices were reviewed in order to meet the needs of users. It was also necessary to increase the skills of the teams in certain technologies to meet this challenge. Adjustments to the way the project was run (frequency of meetings, prioritisation, precision and formalisation of the specifications) were put in place to achieve the project's objectives. 

Several lessons can be drawn from this experience:

           Technical lessons:

o    anticipation of asynchronous API development for calculations, exports and imports

o    the implementation of logging and better error management to be interpreted by agronomical consultant

           Project management lessons

o    set up weekly and then daily sprint retrospective meetings earlier in the project to be more reactive and limit delivery delays.