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Developing the Farmscoper Decision support tool - SCF0104

The Farmscoper tool was developed by ADAS for Defra to enable the assessment of
the cost and effect of one or more diffuse pollution mitigation methods at the farm scale. The tool estimates baseline emissions of a suite of different pollutants and predicts the mitigation potential against these pollutants and also quantifies potentialbenefits for biodiversity. The Farmscoper tool has been used by Defra and the Environment Agency as well as other public and private bodies with an interest in reducing agricultural pollution.The current cost data within Farmscoper have been drawn from a range of sources including previous Defra funded projects, which has resulted in the cost data not reflecting a particular year and the final values withinFarmscoper containing a range of hidden assumptions. The proposal is to produce a separate tool, which would form part of the Farmscoper family of Microsoft Excel workbooks, which would provide explicit information on the source and breakdown of the cost and savings associated with each of the mitigation methods in the Farmscoper library. The current Farmscoper tool would be modified to allow it to link to this ‘Cost Tool’, which would allow for the impacts of changes in the individual component input prices to be investigated.

The development of this ‘Cost Tool’ would make the current assessment of mitigation
cost effectiveness more robust; would allow for a more sophisticated range of policy analysis and would also allow for the cost data to be easily updated to ensure the data remains current and relevant. The Farmscoper tool operates at a farm scale, but current users of the tool have applied it at a range of scales from small catchments to national coverage. This requires the assessment of the number of the different farms within the area and the livestock, cropping and management on those farms. Each of the farms (and potential combinations with the different soil and climate types within Farmscoper), needs to be created and then have the impacts of mitigation methods assessed. The current approaches to this are labour intensive and time consuming, particularly where multiple mitigation scenarios are to be investigated. The proposal is to expand the Farmscoper tool to allow the automatic generation of the different farm types from agricultural census data, and to automate the cost effectiveness evaluation of mitigation impacts, including the collation of the multiple farmlevel outputs produced.
The overall objective of the project is to expand the capability of the Farmscoper tool, in order to improve its
functionality for cost-effective assessments of mitigation method implementation for policy analysis and for use
by other stakeholders involved in catchment management.
The specific objectives of the project are:
1. To develop a custom spreadsheet and database that provides explicit information on the source and
breakdown of the cost and savings associated with each of the mitigation methods in the Farmscoper
library, which can be linked to from the ‘Evaluate’ spreadsheet of Farmscoper.
2. To add functionality within Farmscoper to:
a) Automate the process of building multiple Farmscoper farms, using agricultural census data, in order to
represent the farming within a catchment
b) Automate the subsequent cost-effectiveness assessment of mitigation methods on these farms
c) Automate the extraction and collation of the results for these multiple farms.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : SCF0104 Farmscoper Extension Final Report   (948k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013

To: 2014

Cost: £230,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Agriculture - Abatement costs