We are studying the internal mechanisms of farms by carrying out an ecological and economic analysis of individual enterprises of Swiss farms, i.e. the areas within the farms that specialise in different products. The insights thus gained will contribute towards the sustainability of Swiss agriculture.

Lay summary

Most farms do not focus on a single product, but have several areas of activity (farm enterprises). For example, they may keep dairy cows and grow wheat and potatoes in their fields. Many decisions are made at the enterprise level, such as deciding on fertiliser intensity for arable crops, or the desired milk yield. From an ecological and economic point of view, it is important to gain a better understanding of precisely what exactly happens at the enterprise level.

In this project we want to find out whether there is a positive, negative or no correlation between profitability and environmental impacts at the enterprise level. We are also examining which characteristics of farms influence economic and ecological performance. Finally, we want to determine the potential for saving natural resources while simultaneously increasing the efficiency of operations.

The analysis of profitability and environmental impacts at the enterprise level is an entirely new activity, and it will contribute towards a sustainable Swiss agriculture. The insights thus gained will be discussed with practitioners in cooperation with the Swiss Farmers’ Union and Arenenberg, the agricultural educational and consulting centre of the canton of Thurgau (BBZ Arenenberg). The results will be published in agricultural journals and scientific articles.