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Conversion to Organic Production software (COP) - OF0159

Description
This study will aim to develop software that can assist farmers and advisors in assessing the feasibility of a conversion to organic farming for use in connection with OCIS (Organic Conversion Information Service) and in carrying out more detailed conversion planning. The conversion to organic planning (COP) software will be developed as a Technical Systems Module within the Environmental Management of Agriculture (EMA) programme, but will also be available in stand-alone form. The project will be composed of 4 specific objectives outlined as follows, together with ways in which they might be achieved: 1. Development of a detailed outline of the programme. The outline will need to include 5 areas: format for standard data for use in programmes; required input data; envisaged calculations and budgets; likely output data such as performance indicators; and envisaged linkages with EMA. Comparisons will be made with the format of standard data in the Organic farm management handbook and conventional standard data collections. Previously developed spreadsheet models for conversion to organic production will be examined to provide guidance for the programmer. Consultation with potential users of the COP software will ensure the relevance of its performance output; 2. Writing of draft software and documentation. Two underlying databases for standard data collection and individual farm data will be developed. A graphical user interface will be designed on the basis of the output of objective 1. Programming of the necessary calculations for financial, forage, concentrate and farm gate nutrient budgets will be conducted. The COP will be linked to other technical systems modules in EMA in order to establish links with existing environmental evaluations. Information and documentation for users and maintainers of the programme will be provided; 3. Testing of draft software and corrections. The piloting of a first draft version of the software will use existing contacts to potential users within EMA and through the EFRC organic advisory service, based on a fault report form. The programme will be tested on several real farm examples and the outcome of testing will be reported to the programmers; and 4. Refinement and release of the software. Any final amendments will be made following feedback from the piloting stage and the software will be released through the University of Hertfordshire, who are responsible for the EMA-programme.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Conversion to Organic Production software (COP)   (333k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1999

To: 2001

Cost: £97,118
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Wales, Aberystwth
Keywords
Animal              
Crops              
Farm Scale Evaluation              
Farming              
Horticulture              
Organic Farming              
Fields of Study
Organic Farming