Research and analysis

Evaluation of Farmscoper for cost-effective measures to reduce diffuse agricultural pollution

Farmscoper is a software tool for providing guidance to farmers on the selection of measures to control sediments and nitrates to watercourses.

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This report summarises an evaluation of an agricultural decision support tool called Farmscoper in the Wensum catchment in Norfolk. This was a collaborative MSc project between the Environment Agency and Cranfield University.

Farming practices such as conventional tillage, chemical fertilisation and manure application to fields, high livestock stocking rates and overgrazing have all been identified as potential causes of diffuse agricultural pollution leading to pressures on water quality in many catchments. Managing agricultural pollution at the farm and catchment scale needs to take into account trade-offs between environmental and economic objectives. However, accurate quantification of pollution losses from agricultural activities is a major challenge.

Farmscoper (Farm SCale Optimisation of Pollutant Emission Reductions) is a useful software tool for providing guidance to farmers and agronomists on the selection of mitigation measures to control the sources and transport or delivery of sediments and nitrates to watercourses.