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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Présentation of CRITER

A tool to describe cropping system performances.

The CRITER tool was designed to describe performances of cropping systems by calculating elementary sustainability results from economic, social and environmental criteria. It can be parametrised for a cropping system described by the cropping practices that occur during the multiyear succession of crops (in field-crop systems or mixed crop-livestock systems) and by the technical results obtained (especially yield), in a socio-economic and soil/climate context parametrised by the user.

CRITER unites into a single interface all of the quantitative criteria necessary for the multicriteria assessment method MASC 2.0.

It allows users to specify, criterion-by-criterion, each elementary performance of a cropping system in preparation for the following step of multicriteria assessment with MASC 2.0 by aggregating the criteria.

Thus, coupling CRITER and MASC allows for detailed multicriteria assessment of cropping systems.

Figure 1

For more information, a comparative study on the website of the PLAGE project can help to better understand the advantages and limits of CRITER.

This tool was developed by INRAE in the framework of the “Innovative Cropping Systems” Mixed Technical Network. It received financial support from INRAE, the “Innovative Cropping Systems” Mixed Technical Network and the special purposes account “Agricultural and Rural Development” (CASDAR).

Version 5.4 of CRITER has been filed with the APP (French Agency for the Protection of Programs). This version and its documentation can be freely downloaded. Please let developpers of the tool know about your assessment project by e-mailing Raymond Reau.

21 sustainability criteria, 14 other criteria, and 24 discriptors calculated by CRITER

CRITER calculates basic criteria of the MASC tree according to two complementary pathways:

  • 21 sustainability criteria, directly and quantitatively calculated, which are located at the base of the assessment tree of MASC 2.0, called “quantitative basic criteria”
  • 14 other intermediate criteria useful for qualitative estimation of 12 input criteria of MASC, called “qualitative basic criteria”. The latter are calculated in two steps: calculation of intermediate quantitative variables with CRITER, then inclusion of these intermediate variables in a qualitative estimate available in the same interface as MASC, in the form of a satellite tree that thus supplies 12 qualitative basic criteria as input for the MASC tree.
Figure 2

Quantitative basic criteria and other intermediate criteria calculated by CRITER

Economic, social and environmental criteria are coloured in yellow, blue and green, respectively.

Calculation results are expressed at the scale of a management activity (corresponding to activities performed during a cropping season) and of a cropping system (multi-year crop succession).

Along with the basic criteria necessary for multicriteria assessment with MASC, CRITER also supplies 24 intermediate assessment criteria (Figure 3) that allow users to understand the sources of the results of the 14 other critera described above and to perform more detailed assessments of elementary performances of a cropping system.

Example: The basic criteria “Energy consumption” depends on 5 intermediate assessment criteria that describe individual sources of on-farm energy consumption (machines, fertiliser application, pesticide application, grain drying and irrigation).

Figure 3

Intermediate assessment criteria calculated by CRITER

Economic, social and environmental criteria are coloured in yellow, blue and green, respectively.

Calculation equations are consistent with those used in MASC 2.0. Among them, 7 criteria come from the INDIGO® method (Bockstaller and Girardin, 2008).

Intuitive interface

Parametrisation and information necessary to calculate the criteria are entered into specific intuitive interfaces.

Figure 4

Once management activities of the cropping system and the parametrisation are entered, CRITER calculates the criteria at the scales of management activities and the cropping system.

After calculation, users can export the following data in MS® Excel format:

  • Calculated criteria at the scales of management activities and the cropping system
  • All management activities of each cropping system entered
  • General information about the management activities entered
  • Specific parametrisation of each system (soil context, field topology, miscellaneous information, etc.)

This export file can be used to generate a file that can be imported into the IZIEval interface (an aid for MASC) or to create any graphs that help adopt and understand the results.

Documents available for download (French only)
  • User manual: this document should be read before using the tool; it is useful for understanding how CRITER works and for preparing to use it.
  • CRITER 5.4 : download version 5.4 of the CRITER tool.
  • Data collection: an Excel file for collecting and storing all the information about cropping systems that needs to be entered into CRITER.


Bockstaller C., Girardin P., 2008. Mode de calcul des indicateurs agri-environnementaux de la méthode INDIGO®:, p. 115.