Quendler 1

Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment

E. Quendler:

Characterisation of Agricultural Farms – especially according to Sustainability

How does the farm size influence the sustainability and why do small farms show a „special“ sustainability?


Sustainability of farms is subject of different discussions. General opinion is that large farms are more sustainable than smaller ones. Linear programming was used to determine sustainability and eco-social efficiency differences of pig fattening farms of varying sizes. 624 different types of farm structures indicated a wide variety of eco-social efficiency.

They were selected by applying economic, ecologic and social indicators based on form of cultivation (organic, conventional), farm size, final body weight, and cost of husbandry requirements linked to market prize, investment costs and imputed costs. Large farms – especially organic farms – have a better eco-social efficiency. Small farms as well as medium-sized farms show a lower performance, because scales – especially economies of scales – can not be benefited from. When appropriate economic and social measuring criteria are used for the evaluation of the eco-social efficiency of small farms, their specific sustainability can be identified.

Key words: Sustainability, farm size, eco-social efficiency, LP-Model, pig fattening farms.