Decision support systems make an important contribution to farming decisions, adding to the vital experience-based knowledge of farmers. The Project looks at a broad range of decision support tools available to UK farmers and farm advisers, including bespoke software, tools based on generic software (e.g. Excel), email or text alerts, online tools and guidance, phone apps, and paper-based guidance.
The Project is compiling a list of tools relevant to UK agriculture, and also conducting 6 focus groups and 75 interviews with farmers and farm advisers across the arable, dairy, and red meat sectors. Of particular interest are attitudes and the identification of key factors affecting the use of such tools in farming decisions.
The identification of these key use factors, and the highlighting of specific examples of effective tools, will help inform future policies about the design, communication, and use of decision support tools in UK agriculture.
The Landscape Typology for England and Wales classifies landscapes based on physical and environmental and social-economic characteristics such as soil type, water quality and crop yield. These are based on pre-existing sources of data and help policy makers and stakeholders understand opportunities and risks for food production and the environment.
The new Dynamic Landscape Tool uses this data to determine how beneficial outcomes such as increased crop yields, biodiversity or rural employment can be achieved through SI.The tool is dynamic, as it allows stakeholders to select and weight data layers according to perceived importance and in relation to local and national priorities; it is landscape, as it shows areas of similar opportunity and risk; and it is a tool,as it enables the targeting of advice and incentive schemes.