Technical feasibility


SECTION I: Testing



Has the R & D result been tested?





The following question is replied according to the reply in question 1


If yes



In what mode has the result been tested?•             Prototype

•             Pilot Application

•             Alpha/BETA testing


X-farm has been already developed as a prototype named “MiniCSS” (software application for the optimization of crop irrigation and nitrogen fertilization). It was tested by comparing simulation results with experimentalobserved values. The results were satisfactorily and the goal of this application has been pursued with a reduced number of input parameters and with a user friendly dialogue window. MiniCSS derived from the Cropping System Simulator CSS (already developed) that will be also the engine of the X-farmsoftware. 
1b. Please describe and discuss the testing results
X-farmresults as being a useful tool to manage sustainable farming systems and improve the planning capability of farmers. Its use is quite simple and scenario evaluations can be obtained very quickly by creating file of events with agricultural practices.Another type of application of the model is the possibility to set the automatic calculation of irrigation water requirements, in order to maintain the maximum yields, so raising the yields but also the crop costs in economic and energy terms.

In order to achieve a better description of the farming system, new developments of X-farm are currently in progress:

1) manpower and machinery modules;

2) livestock and biogas production module;

3) on-farm seed pressing for oil extraction;

4) implementation of genetic algorithms to obtain robust calibrations and optimizations;

5) LCA analysis for the alternative sources of energy produced on farms;

6) a DSS version, with the automatic generation of optimized cropping practices decisions (besides irrigation and mineral fertilization, also plowing, harrowing and other events).

Moreover, a major improvement of X-farm will be obtained with the implementation of the concept of “task” in the SEMoLa language. This concept, largely used in the fields of operational research, is also going to be adopted in the modeling farm organization.



If no:



Describe what type of testing does the R&D result need?


1d. What is the time needed for testing?
1e. What is the cost needed for testing?



SECTION 2: Current Stage of Development



To what extent does the development team have technical resources for supporting the production of a new product? (Researchers, human resources, hardware, etc. )
The working group consists of experts in the field of agronomy and computer modelling. The group leader is a professor with a thirty years experience in agricultural systems modelling and development of software and language for implementation of simulation models. This software and language are the main instruments for the development of X-farm. The other group members are researchers and agronomists with experience in agronomic, environmental and crop production issues, well skilled in the construction of simulation models, and also involved in certification of farm production systems with private companies. Computer and other software tools for software development and deployment are available at the research group. Moreover, the research group has many national and international collaborations that allow accessing to world environmental and climate databases. 


What are the technical issues that need to be tackled for full deployment, if needed?
-          Better development of help material and documentation and technical assistance to the customers-          Setting up of a training system for the users of the application

-          Further testing of the DSS software in real farms situations

-          Improvements of the Graphical user interfaces

-          Development of a commercial web site



What additional technical resources are needed for the production of this new product?
-          Expertise in graphical user interfaces development-          Accounting expertise

-          Marketing expertise and promotional material

-          Databases of third parties




Overall assessment of the current stage of technical development.
The development of the X-farm  is at a good stage as prototype but it could require a series of tests for usability and for a complete debugging in the actual conditions of use.

SECTION 3: Deployment


Define the demands for large scale production in terms of
  • Materials
-          Software storage and recording materials (e.g. CD, flash pen, memory card, ecc)-          packaging systems




  • technologies, tools, machineries


  • Staff effort





SECTION 4: Overall Assessment



What is you overall assessment of the technical feasibility of the research result?
If the research team has the possibility to test the system in different weather and  geographical conditions, the idea will be able to be adopted not only by local organizations, but also by larger organizations and/or private farmers.The possibility to optimize the materials (starting from water), the cultivation and the results of the agriculture activity are very high.










Please put X as appropriate. 1 2 3 4 5
Adequacy of testing activity undertaken so far X
Adequacy and availability of technical resources of the development team X
Current development stage X
Overall technical feasibility X



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