Eight years after the launching of the FSD (Farming Systems
Design) initiative in Catania (2007), the European
Society for Agronomy (ESA) has been mandated
to organize the fifth FSD symposium in Montpellier with the
specific objective to strengthen the interdisciplinary and
methodological focus of FSD. In a time when challenges for
farming systems are increasingly defined by other systems
operating at higher scales (food security, climate change,
natural resource conservation, poverty alleviation….)
it is important to keep an active scientific community sustaining
innovation and capacity building on farming systems and their
interfaces with those embedding systems and global issues.
Congress attendance has been voluntarily limited to allow
for more discussions and to focus on the core topics of FSD.
341 delegates came to Montpellier from 41 countries, all continents
being represented. Countries most represented were France,
the Netherlands and Uruguay. Among the delegates, 50 students
attended the conference, and 26 participated to the 1st International
FSD Course. The Organizing Committee was able to sponsor participants
from the South, by waiving off registration fees, and for
6 of them, accommodation and/or travel.
proceedings of the conference aim to serve as
a compendium of the ongoing research in the FSD domain when
considered worldwide and across the various sectors of agriculture
(including fish-based systems). They include all the 250 presentations
(orals and posters) selected by the Scientific Committee.
Part of these submissions have also been selected to compose
special issues of major journals in the domain (Agricultural
Systems and European Journal of Agronomy) and others will
give raise to individual submissions in other journals.
The major achievements and challenges of the FSD approach
are browsed through the 6 short sessions of the symposium
"Farming Systems Design in Action: Methods, Achievements
and Challenges" and are further developed and illustrated
in the thematic sessions covering:
• The grounds of the FSD approach in quantitative analysis
of crops (session
T1. Assessing performances and services of cropping systems)
and farms (T2.
Assessing performances and services of farming systems).
• The research frontiers on methodologies for systems
experiments at field level (W3.
Cropping systems design: what can we do with field experiments
and expert knowledge?), support of transition
pathways at farm level (W4.
Farms in transition), integrated analysis (T7.
Scaling up from farm to landscape and multiscale scenario
analysis of agricultural systems) and design
and co-innovation with farmers and stakeholders)
of agricultural systems.
• A specific focus on crop models (T3.
Crop modelling and yield gap analysis for agricultural systems
analysis and design) and farm models (T4.
What’s new with bio-economic models for the analysis
and design of agricultural systems?) and the
way they can be developed and used to sustain system’s
analysis and design.
• Three typical challenges on which the multi-scale
and multi-domain FSD approach is likely to bring significant
Designing Climate Smart Agricultural Systems;
sustainable agricultural systems with legumes;
W6. Pathways for
sustainable intensification of African agriculture?
• Applications of the FSD approach to specific types
of farming systems: W1.
Animal-based systems and crop-livestock interactions at farm
and territory level; W7.
Aquaculture systems, W2.
Annual crops based systems; W5.
Silvo-arable and silvo-pastoral systems.
are also online and will remain the active link among the
FSD community. A FSD road
map for 2015-2020 has been drafted during this
conference to stimulate initiatives in the FSD community.
It includes the proposal of a 6th FSD symposium to be organized
in Uruguay-Argentina in March 2019 and the organization of
the second FSD Course to be held in Montpellier in 2016. A
specific FSD session is also scheduled during the 2016
ESA conference in Edimburg.
President of FSD5
ESA Executive Secretary
Professor of Agronomy, Montpellier SupAgro