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Research Project:

Modeling structural change and agricultural nutrient flows across scales in regions of North Rhine-Westphalia

Project leader: PD Dr. Wolfgang Britz
  July 2016 - June 2018

The research project is funded by the Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MKULNV) within the framework of the teaching and research focus (USL).


The research project aims at the analysis of nutrient exchanges between farms in regions of North Rhine-Westphalia based on the combination of bio-physical, bio-economic and agented based modeling. Impacts of policy measures are quantified and, as far as possible, recommendations are given to reduce the environmental impact of nutrient surpluses. The focus is on the current revision of the implementation of the EU Nitrate Directive in Germany. For this purpose, spatially detailed geo-referenced data are collected for selected regions in North Rhine-Westphalia, e.g. with regard to soil, climate, cropping shares, animal herds and crop yields. A crop growth model simulates in detail for major arable crops nutrient flows under different farm management. Therefore, the modeling framework SIMPLACE is applied. The data serve amongst others as input for the single farm programming model FARMDYN which simulates optimal farm investment and production decisions at given prices, farm endowments and agricultural and agri-environmental legislation. Dual profit functions are econometrically estimated based on these simulation results which describe the behavior of the farm agents in the agent based model ABMSIM. This model captures spatially explicit the interactions of farms in land-lease markets and with regard to nutrient exchanges. Thus, it describes in a consistent framework both the structural development in agriculture as nutrient flows between farms. The research project consists of three subprojects, located at different chairs at the Agricultural Faculty.

Subproject 1 (agro-ecosystems modeling):

Modeling the effects of mineral and organic fertilizer applications on crop yields and environment in farm specific cropping systems of selected regions in North Rhine-Westphalia

Subproject 2 (single farm modeling):

Farm-level modeling of impacts of fertilizer legislation and developments in agricultural policy on farms in North Rhine-Westphalia

Subproject 3 (agent based modeling):

Regional modeling of structural change in agriculture with an agent based approach under consideration of nutrient exchanges between farms

Last updated: April 07, 2017