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A farm-level programming model to compare the atmospheric impact of conventional and organic farming

A model is developed to represent the activity of a farm using the method of linear programming. Two are the main components of the model, the balance of soil fertility and the livestock nutrition. According to the first, the farm is supposed to have a total requirement of nitrogen, which is to be accomplished either through internal sources (manure) or through external sources (fertilisers). The second component describes the animal husbandry as having a nutritional requirement which must be satisfied through the internal production of arable crops or the acquisition of feed from the market. The farmer is supposed to maximise total net income from the agricultural and the zoo-technical activities by choosing one rotation among those available for climate and acclivity. The perspective of the analysis is one of a short period: the structure of the farm is supposed to be fixed without possibility to change the allocation of permanent crops and the amount of animal husbandry.
The model is integrated with an environmental module that describes the role of the farm within the carbon-nitrogen cycle. On the one hand the farm allows storing carbon through the photosynthesis of the plants and the accumulation of carbon in the soil; on the other some activities of the farm emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The model is tested for some representative farms of the Emilia-Romagna region, showing to be capable to give different results for conventional and organic farming and providing first results concerning the different atmospheric impact. Relevant data about the representative farms and the feasible rotations are extracted from the FADN database, with an integration of the coefficients from the literature.
Date04 July 2013
CreatorsSignorotti, Claudio <1972>
ContributorsCanavari, Maurizio
PublisherAlma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna
Source SetsUniversità di Bologna
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeDoctoral Thesis, PeerReviewed

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