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Last update: May 2021

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MicMac Design Project

MicMac-Design Project

WP1.1: Methods for prototyping crop management systems and cropping systems combining expert knowledge and simulation

The objective of Task 1.1 is to organize the designing of innovative systems (including rules to manage the systems) through meetings with agronomists of the project from research and technical institutes.

A prototyping methodology was proposed to cope with the constraints of Integrated Crop Production.

Instead of multi-factorial trials, the experimental design is composed of a limited number of relevant combinations of techniques, built to fulfil the system objectives (e.g. maximizing gross margin) while respecting the environmental regulations (e.g. maximal amount of water of nitrogen).

A main feature of this method is to put in action systems where every decision (sowing date, planting density, varietal choice, N fertilization, irrigation, …) is reasoned by the means of decision rules as: “if [indicator] then [action 1] else [action 2]”.

The level of each factor is not fixed but results conditionally from weather conditions, crop development or soil status.

To trigger the rules in practice, indicators of soil and plant status are observed or simulated then compared to a reference or a threshold value.

Consequently, the levels of the agronomic factors may change with locations and seasons but the agronomic strategy remains unchanged.

This prototyping methodology is composed of 4 steps:
i) defining the cropping systems as sets of objectives and constraints, ii) defining action rules, iii) implementing them in field experiments, iv) evaluating and eventually re-designing the cropping systems.

This approach is applied to two experimental sites, in two different regional contexts with a limited number of cropping systems.

Those will be compared on their technical feasibility, agronomic, economic and environmental performances using field measurements and simulation data.

The involved partners in this task are UMR AGIR (INRA Toulouse), graduate school of Purpan, ARVALIS and CETIOM.