An eco-rating system for optimising pesticide use at farm level : Part 2 - Evaluation, examples and piloting
The development of a decision support system aims to encourage farmers in the UK to adopt a more environmentally friendly approach to their daily activities. Part of the system concentrates on crop protection encouraging best practice and the principles of integrated pest management. The system compares actual practices on a field by field basis with what is perceived to be best practice and, using scoring techniques, derives numerical performance indices, known as eco-ratings, which lie on a defined scale. The conceptual framework of the system is designed such that by analysing past decisions it can help to identify strengths and weaknesses of current practices and so support future decisions and planning. This paper presents some of the evaluation work and provides examples and information on the scoring system used. The examples used illustrate the success of the system in providing the user with sufficient advice and information such that informed decisions regarding pesticide choice, application and general management can be made. An associated paper (Part 1) in this journal details the theory, design and development of the methodology.