The role of the EMA software in integrated crop management and its commercial uptake
Integrated crop management (ICM) balances the issues of profitability and sustainability with the need for concern for the environmental as a whole. As such, it requires sound decision-making based on detailed knowledge of the integrated nature of farming and how any single activity can impact on the business viability (short- and long-term) and on the environment. This paper reports the development and use of a practical software package, Environmental Management for Agriculture (EMA), designed to support farmers, advisers and others in developing ICM practices. An exercise in technology transfer, the package uses a simple, but effective, technique relying on input data and information readily available on farm or stored in the system's databases. The paper explains how EMA can support ICM, provides an analysis of the identified user-groups and an insight into how the package is being used by these different groups. It also discusses advantages and disadvantages of using software tools in ICM decision making.