Presentation of CRITER

The CRITER tool has been designed to characterise the performance of cropping systems by calculating economic, social and environmental criteria for elementary sustainability results. It can be filled in from a cropping system described by the cropping operations that follow each other during the multi-annual succession of crops, in field crops or poly-crop-livestock, and the technical results obtained (harvest results in particular), in a socio-economic and pedo-climatic context set by the user.
CRITER brings together in a single interface all the quantitative criteria required for the MASC 2.0 multi-criteria evaluation method.
It allows the characterisation of each elemental performance of a cropping system criterion by criterion, prior to the next step of multi-criteria evaluation with MASC 2.0 by aggregating the criteria.
Thus, the association in chain of these two tools CRITER then MASC makes it possible to carry out in fine the multi-criteria evaluation of a cropping system.


For more information, a comparative study provides a better understanding of the strengths and limitations of CRITER on the PLAGE project site.

This tool was developed by INRAE within the framework of the Innovative Cropping Systems RMT. It was financially supported by INRAE, the RMT Innovative Cropping Systems and the CASDAR "Agricultural and Rural Development".
Version 5.4 has been submitted to the APP. This version and its documentation can be freely downloaded. Please inform the tool's designers of your evaluation project by sending an email to Raymond Reau.

21 critères de durabilité, 14 autres critères, et 24 descripteurs calculés par CRITER

CRITER permet de calculer des critères basiques de l’arbre MASC suivant 2 voies complémentaires :

  • 21 sustainability criteria, calculated directly in quantitative terms, which are positioned at the base of the MASC 2.0 evaluation tree, referred to here as the quantitative basic criteria;
  • 14 other intermediate criteria useful for the qualitative estimation of 12 MASC input criteria, called qualitative basic criteria. The latter are calculated in two steps: calculation of an intermediate quantitative variable with CRITER, then integration of this intermediate variable in a qualitative estimation available in the same interface as MASC, in the form of a satellite tree which thus provides a total of 12 qualitative basic criteria at the input of the MASC tree.

Quantitative basic criteria and other intermediate criteria calculated by CRITER
In yellow the criteria of the economic sustainability domain
In blue the criteria of the social sustainability domain
In green the criteria of the environmental sustainability domain.

The results of the calculations are expressed on the scale of a crop management system (corresponding to the interventions carried out during a crop year) and a cropping system (multi-year scale of the succession).
In addition to the basic criteria necessary for the multi-criteria evaluation by MASC, CRITER also provides a series of 24 intermediate diagnostic criteria (see Figure 3) that allow the origin of the results of the other criteria above to be understood, and then to carry out more precise diagnoses of the elementary performances of the cropping system.
Example: The basic criterion Energy consumption is broken down into 5 intermediate diagnostic criteria, in order to characterise the consumption of each of the energy consumption items (mechanisation, fertilisation, phytosanitary treatment, grain drying, irrigation).


Intermediate diagnostic criteria calculated by CRITER
In yellow the criteria of the economic sustainability domain
In blue the criteria of the social sustainability domain
In green the criteria of the environmental sustainability domain.

The calculation formalisms are consistent with the MASC 2.0 documentation. Of these, 7 criteria are derived from the INDIGO® method (Bockstaller and Girardin, 2008).

Intuitive interfaces

The parameters and information necessary for the calculation of the criteria are to be entered in specific and intuitive interfaces.


Once the technical itineraries of the cropping system and the parameters have been entered, proceed with the calculation of the criteria, at the level of the crop management and the cropping system.
At the end of the calculations, a function allows you to export the following data in Excel forma

  • The results of the criteria calculations, both at field and system levels
  • The complete technical itineraries of each cropping system entered
  • General information on the crops entered
  • The specific parameters for each system (soil context, topological description of the plots, various information, etc.)

This export can be used to generate a file that can be imported into the IZI-Eval interface (support for the MASC method), or to create any graphical representation useful for the appropriation and understanding of the results.

Documents to download

  • User's manual: reading this document is a prerequisite for handling the tool, useful for becoming familiar with its operation and preparing for its use.
  • CRITER 5.4: download version 5.4 of the CRITER tool.
  • Data collection: file in Excel format to collect and store all the information relating to the cropping systems to be characterised before entering them into CRITER.


Bockstaller C., Girardin P., 2008. Mode de calcul des indicateurs agri-environnementaux de la méthode INDIGO®:, p. 115.

Modification date : 09 May 2023 | Publication date : 08 June 2021 | Redactor : MEANS