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Economic analyses of resource efficiency of farms

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© BLE / Thomas Stephan
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An increase of resource efficiency is a central challenge for agriculture. Required are management concepts which lead to an optimal use of farm resource such as nutrients, water or energy. But without consideration of the economic aspects, these concepts are of little use.

Background and Objective

Improved soil tillage and animal husbandry systems can make an important contribution to increasing the resource efficiency of agricultural production. In the assessment of various strategies for improving farm resource efficiency, a purely material efficiency evaluation is not adequate: because the adoption of such management strategies is for the most part influenced by their economic viability. In order to attain a greater distribution of resource efficient measures in agricultural practice, it is also important that a suitable incentive system is implemented. Against this background, the aim of the project is (a) to assess economically various optimisation strategies and (b) to derive suitable (coherent) support strategies.


The project uses 40 organic and 40 conventional farms from the pilot farm network as a basis. The economic analysis is subdivided into the following three steps:

1. Documentation of book-keeping data and economic assessment of the current resource efficiency with the help of model analyses. At the heart of the status quo analysis stand the interaction between economic success and ecological efficiency.

2. Development and assessment of optimisation strategies for improved resource efficiency. The analyses are supplemented by a meta-evaluation of existing policy instruments and an expert survey.

3. The drafting of policy recommendation to support resource efficient farming practices.

The project is part of the joint project „Increasing resource efficiency throughout the total farm optimization of plant and milk production under the inclusion of animal welfare aspects”, which is carried out together with the Thünen-Institute of Organic Farming and the Technische Universität München.

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