DEXiPM, to design and assess innovative crop strategies

Last modified by mbenezit on 2014/10/07 17:10

DEXiPM is an integrated, multi-criteria, multi-scale and multi-stakeholder tool, which aim is to design and assess cropping systems. Its assets lie in the inventiveness and creativity it allows during the design of new cropping systems. Assessing systems through DEXiPM also allows a great degree of liberty of the user in the adaptation of the model according to his objectives and priorities.

    DEXiPM is the result of a dynamic of research on integrated pest management initiated by several european projects (ECOGEN, SIGMEA, Endure, PURE) and combines several existing tools and models (MASC, Indigo,  Salca,…)

It's name is the contraction of the DEXi decision support system (Bohanec, 2009) with the pest management strategy called Integrated pest management (IPM)

    DEXiPM was developed by researchers for researchers to assess the sustainability of arable cropping systems, particularly integrated crop management systems with a limited use of pesticides. For this puprose, DEXiPM presents specific attributes concerning integrated pest management to allow comparisons between different pest management strategies.

    The model is entirely qualitative allowing it to be used easily through the consultation of experts even when only a few references on the assessed systems are available. Originally used in ex ante to animate groups of co-design, the model is now starting to be used in ex post. It has 75 basic indicators describing the cropping systems and the context of the assessment, and 86 aggregated indicators assessing the usual three dimensions of sustainability in terms of social, environmental and economic issues.

    Socio-economic attributes have been added in the model to ensure that performances of systems are evaluated within their contexts.These attributes can help in the identification of obstacles to innovation and they facilitate the design of public policies and of more suited strategies by easily simulating changes of context.

DEXiPM V.1. has been referenced by the European agency for program protection (Paris) under the ID number IDDN.F.R.001.490014.000.R.P.2009.000.30100.

Originally developed for arable crops systems, DEXiPM is currently being adapted to other crops (field vegetables, protected vegetables, pome fruit, grapevine).

A creative model

DEXiPM was conceived in order to design innovative cropping systems regardless of their economic feasibility. The idea is that even if the system is not realistic in the current context, it could become feasible in a relatively near future, that is if the economic, social and technical conditions were to change.

It allows the exploration of cropping systems presenting deep changes compared to current systems. This is necessary as the pressure for change in agriculture is high both at the national and european level. Deep changes are indeed needed if we want to reach the objectives of the french Ecophyto plan. The goals assigned cannot be reached without changing the rotations, introducing new crops in the rotation and building new sectors.

An evaluation depending on the user's point of view

DEXiPM allows an assessment of the sustainability of cropping systems, as complete as possible, according to social, economic and environmental criteria.

The originality of the model is to leave a certain degree of freedom concerning the weights of certain attributes in the aggregation. Thus, each user (farmer, NGO, researcher, adviser) can do his own choices and see the consequence in all transparency.  The model is therefore a great support of discussion between different stakeholders. 

Finally, because it is a qualitative model, DEXiPM allows the assessment of a cropping system even if some data are missing and can be filled by expert knowledge.

A decision tree taking into account the three pillars of sustainability

The model is structured as a hierarchical tree in which 75 input "basic attributes" describe the system and aggregate together into 86 "aggregated attributes".

DEXiPM, arbre des paramètres d'entrée.. © Inra
DEXiPM, inputs' tree. © Inra

The attributes are aggregated node by node, until the final output which is the qualitative estimation of the global sustainability of the system.

DEXiPM, arbre de paramètres de sorties.. © Inra
DEXiPM, outputs' tree. © Inra

Weighting of attributes

The model allows the user to weight the different attributes according to his priorities. Stakeholders can thus test several choices and discuss them in complete transparency, as the chosen hierarchy between attributes is always visible.

DEXiPM, pondération des critères.. © Inra
DEXiPM, weighting of attributes. © Inra

Dans cet exemple, la pondération (fond vert) s’exerce à deux niveaux de l’arbre : au niveau de l’utilisation des ressources (où l’on choisit la part accordée à l’eau, à l’énergie, au sol et à la fertilisation minérale), et au niveau de l’évaluation de la durabilité globale du système étudié (ici, on accorde une part égale à la durabilité environnementale, économique et sociale, mais cela reste au choix de l’utilisateur).

For a video presenting DEXiPM, click here.

Contact for more information on the different versions of DEXiPM

For all versions, please contact the following mailing list: dexipm (at)


Pelzer, E. et al. 2012. Assessing innovative cropping systems with DEXiPM, a qualitative multi-criteria assessment tool derived from DEXi. Ecological indicators, 18, 171-182. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2011.11.019.

Messéan A., Lô-Pelzer E., Bockstaller C., Lamine C., Angevin F., 2010, Outils d’évaluation et d’aide à la conception de stratégies innovantes de protection des grandes cultures, Innovations Agronomiques, 8, 69-81

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Created by Damien CRAHEIX on 2013/10/23 16:50
Translated into en by mbenezit on 2014/09/03 18:07
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