I've just read that "FARMSCOPER is a decision support tool that can be used for assessing diffuse agricultural-pollutant loads on a farm and quantifying the impacts of farm mitigation methods on these pollutants". Has anyone tried this free ADAS tool and what is it like in practice?
Apologies for the delay in replying to you. We have just started using Farmscoper here to carry out some assessments and Rob Field, one of our Senior Conservation Scientists, who has used the tool has commented as follows:
“Farmscoper is pretty easy to use, and gives output for applied scenario and amounts of fertiliser lost to leaching and the atmosphere. Input is slightly ‘clunky’ as you have to do each year separately once you’ve set up a farm. However, it’s easy to use and the output is self explanatory. Because you do each year separately, and save a different file for each, it’s easy to compare different options of inputs, though not in a sophisticated way.
It’s also worth having a look at Planet as well, depends what info you have and what you want in the output.”
The only thing I would add, is that it appears to us to underestimate the GHG emissions from the fertiliser we use. We think this is because it doesn't include the GHG emissions from the manufacture of the fertiliser and we feel that this is as important as how it is used on the farm.
We also intend to use Farmscoper to look at the diffuse pollution that is occuring on the farm as we try to assess the wider impact of our farm on the environment.
All the best,