Basis for designing a tool to evaluate new cultivars Article - 2010

Christophe Lecomte, Lorène Prost, Marianne Cerf, Jean-Marc Meynard

Christophe Lecomte, Lorène Prost, Marianne Cerf, Jean-Marc Meynard, « Basis for designing a tool to evaluate new cultivars  », Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 2010, pp. 667-677. ISSN 1774-0746

Abstract

Seed scientists and decision-makers must evaluate the behaviour of new cultivars. They are thus always seeking improvements in multi-parameter trials. In particular, there is a need for cultivar evaluation tools that include both environmental characterisation of the trials and advanced statistical analysis of genotype by environment interaction. Therefore, in this investigation we gathered agronomists and ergonomists to analyse the functioning, i.e. the activity system, of cultivar evaluation, and to define the specifications of a new tool. We interviewed 21 actors in order to describe and analyse the diversity of evaluation actions such as the objectives of evaluation, criteria to judge cultivars, and configuration of experimentation ; and to identify contradictions that appear in the whole activity system to reveal constraints. We deduced the following specifications : (1) to take into account the very short period after harvest in which analyses have to be returned, the tool has to perform automated identification and quantification of environmental constraints in each trial (crop diagnosis) and automated analysis of genotype by environment interaction. (2) The tool has to come up to different actors’ expectations concerning environmental or cultivar characterisation or experimental design optimisation. (3) The tool has to be flexible enough to integrate particular knowledge or expertise.

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