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Task 4.2 Cognitive mapping for analysing systems of practices (M15-M30)
Task-lead: INRA in collaboration with GLZ, Teagasc, WLR, RHEA & UGOE

A production system is a combination of practices, decided by the farmer, that maximises positive interaction among practices, meets farmer’s expectations, and is relevant to the local conditions (soil, climate, economy). Because it is a human decision, either by a single farmer, or influenced by group dynamics, cognitive mapping is well adapted to analyse production systems. Every single production system can be represented by an adjacency matrix, indicating the combination of practices implemented by the farmer. When cumulating all matrices from the farm surveys of the network and computing them through adapted software, it will be possible to identify the most common combinations of practices, the unusual combinations that could be considered as possible innovations and the combinations implemented with the most innovative practices. These practices and systems of practices will then be documented in terms of production, economy and environment performances. This analysis will be followed by an evaluation of the innovations as to how the innovations can be transferred to a different set of production and environmental conditions. Therefore, indicators and threshold values will be developed. As a result, procedures will be developed to new decisionmaking processes and to define transfer functions that would describe minimum requirements for an innovation to be recommended.

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