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Last update: May 2021

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MEANS Software

The MEANS platform provides two complementary software tools that enable users to assess agri-food systems:

  • MEANS-InOut software, developed exclusively by the platform team
  • SimaPro©, a commercial software program from Pré Consultants dedicated to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) (available only to INRAE personnel and staff attached to INRAE research units)
Means platform

Function of each IT tool

With the MEANS-InOut software, users can:

  • describe agricultural production systems and their associated metadata
  • document methodological choices
  • calculate flows of pollutants related to and resources used by the production systems

MEANS-InOut software allows users to assess systems of crop (arable crops, greenhouse crops, meadows), animal production (poultry, pig, beef, milk,etc.) with LCA.

With MEANS-InOut, users can create inventories of inputs and outputs of agricultural production systems. MEANS-InOut provides forms for data collection and models to estimate pollutant flows. Forms and models are adapted to each production system.

For example, for arable crops, MEANS-InOut software provides forms to collect yield, the type and quantity of each input used (seed, fertilizer, pesticides, irrigation water, etc.) and each agricultural operation (tillage, harvest, manure spreading, etc.). Models estimate resource consumption (e.g. fuel for agricultural operation) and pollutant flows to the environment. Many pollutants are considered: carbon dioxide, ammonia, nitrate, phosphorus, heavy metals, etc. 

With SimaPro, users can calculate indicators of environmental impact (climate change, eutrophication, acidification, etc.) using the information that they have collected with MEANS-InOut software.

In addition to these calculation features, both programs allow data to be stored. Thus, users can search for reference systems in the databases of these programs.

Data protection and confidentiality

Both programs guarantee the confidentiality of data.  Data in a user's project are accessible only by other users whom the user has explicitly given access.