Integrating LCA Know-how in Agricultural Sector Models

The economic-ecological analysis of the agricultural sector is a longstanding concern of Agroscope’s. Two already-concluded projects drew a link between LCA environmental indicators and economic optimisation models. Currently, the question of whether and how LCA environmental indicators could be integrated into the economic models is being investigated.

Together with partners, the LCA Research Group has made efforts to add further pillars of sustainability to environmental assessment.

In a cooperative venture between the Socioeconomics and LCA research groups, the SALCA method was linked with the SILAS economic optimisation model. This combination of economic and ecological evaluations was applied to an agro-economic scenario in which the cost-efficiency of individual ecological measures (payments for ecological compensation areas, taxes on energy, fertilisers or concentrated feed) were compared with a package of measures (organic farming).

As part of another joint project with the Socioeconomics group of the FiBL Switzerland, the cost-efficiency of the support for organic farming was compared to that of individual measures, using the FARMIS sector model, which is based on the modelling of farm groups. The impacts on energy requirement, eutrophication and biodiversity were investigated. The support of organic farming through direct payments proved to be similarly effective to a combination of individual measures.