Budgeting of the agricultural production energy flow in dryland farming - First step to optimize the energy turnover on a farm basis and to an agroenergetic regional analysis

Hans-Joachim Späth


Increasing cost and decreasing abundance of fossil energy resources force farming industries on a global scale to optimize the relationship between cultural energy input and food energy output, and to minimize all forms of energy waste in agricultural production. This is truly an enormous worldwide task, since the progressive increase in food production over the past 30 years has been achieved mainly on the basis of excessive energy investments.

The assistance of all related sciences is required to solve the task at hand. Only the geo-ecological approach, however, can perform an agro-energetic regional analysis and can produce a land use and resource management model which explains the range of potential optimizations and the variability of the agricultural energy flow on the basis of interacting variable agro-technical and geo-ecological energy flow regime factors.

Up to now there are no methodological guidelines for budgeting agricultural energy flow on a regional scale. There is not even any consistency in regards to the scope of direct productions energy inputs and to energy conversion factors. This paper analyses necessary and unnecessary energy budget components, it suggests procedures for accounting for all pertinent budget inputs and the output, it outlines the differences and similarities of this approach and the methods and conversion factors formerly used by others, it explains potential procedures for selecting appropriate geo-ecological Parameters which influence the agricultural production energy flow, and it pleads for methodological uniformity and transparency for future research in this field for the benefit of practical applicability of the research results.

Furthermore this paper explains the methodological details, the contents, and the scope of composing the data base for both the agricultural energy flow and the surrounding geo-ecological Setting in their regional and local variability, it describes possible formals of functional questionnaires for the longterm data raising process, it outlines the method of transforming local information about interrelated variables into its spatial perspective, and finally it identifies statistical methods for analysing the functional model "geo-ecological" variability / production energy input / food energy output / land use structure".

Small and large scale options for mathematical modelling and the scope of potential land use planning and resource management on the basis of the resulting models are mentioned in the end.


Bilanzierung des Produktionsenergieflusses in der Trockenlandschaft - erster Schritt zur einzelbetrieblichen Energieumsatz-Optimierung und zur agroenergetischen Regionanalyse

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