Future Scenarios for Arable Agriculture

Modelling pathways to sustainability, resilience and profitability in arable agriculture

Project Details Ngā taipitopito

Project Status:
Challenge funding:
Research duration:
July 2022 – December 2022

Collaborators Ngā haumi

Foundation for Arable Research | Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research | University Of Canterbury

You are here: Home / Projects / ­ Future Scenarios for Arable Agriculture

What are we doing?E aha ana mātou?

A range of disruptive scenarios could impact New Zealand’s arable sector, such as climate change, new trade agreements or bans, or new technology adoption.

Global and policy-specific scenarios will be developed by this project, with analysis of the consequences of these scenarios on land-use change, resilience, sustainability and profitability over the next 5 to 30 years.

The research will develop an interactive tool to support strategic planning to respond to the risks, opportunities and impacts of these scenarios.

How can the research be used? Ka pēhea e whai take ai te rangahau?

  • A decision-support tool will be developed to highlight the effects of major disruptions on the agricultural sector, for different scenario narratives.
  • Interactive maps will inform users about a range of indicators including agricultural production, water quantity needed for irrigation, water quality score, greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production, and carbon-equivalent offset by natural regrowth, native or pine plantation.
  • When used by a group of stakeholders, the decision-support tool will allow real-time collaboration to formulate adaptation strategies to comply with environmental targets such as carbon neutrality and freshwater objectives by 2050, and national or regional economic growth objectives.
  • This interactive tool is expected to have significant positive effect on understanding major disruptions and how policy is formulated for various stakeholders at regional and national levels (ie. regional councils, national government, iwi, catchment groups), other sectoral stakeholders (eg. dairy, meat and wool, forestry, and horticulture), as well as the broader New Zealand agriculture industry.
  • The tool will also support Māori economic interests and the wellbeing of te Taiao, allowing exploration of different pathways and interventions for increasing the profitability, resilience, and sustainability of agriculture in Aotearoa.

Research team Te hunga i whai wāhi mai

Project Lead/Science Lead
Thomas Cochrane
University of Canterbury
Te Ao Māori Lead
Tipene Merritt
University of Canterbury
Clémence Vannier
Manaaki Whenua (previously University of Canterbury)
Peyman Zawar-Reza
University of Canterbury
Larry Bellamy
University of Canterbury
Ivan Lawrie
Foundation for Arable Research

Tools & resources Ngā utauta me ngā rauemi


Alternative Feeds to Hit Emissions Targets

Agricultural emissions targets could be met by 2030 by increasing brassica and grains in cattle diets by 20–30%, with stocking rates reduced just 5%, finds…
View Summary

Scenario design of New Zealand future agriculture

We have developed a simple decision-support tool that is the first to represent the whole agricultural system of New Zealand at the national scale. The…
View Model

A Foot in the Door to the Alternative Protein Market

Developing a pea and fava bean protein market in New Zealand would have high environmental gains, finds new research – but who pays for the…
View Summary

Canterbury Plains Could Lead the Way in Push for Increased Wheat Production

As Canterbury dairy farmers look to diversify land use, adding wheat production could make New Zealand self-sufficient in wheat while reducing greenhouse gas production and…
View Summary
Journal Article

An Analysis of Agricultural Systems Modelling Approaches and Examples to Support Future Policy Development under Disruptive Changes in New Zealand

Agricultural systems have entered a period of significant disruption due to impacts from change drivers, increasingly stringent environmental regulations and the need to reduce unwanted…
View Journal Article

Future scenarios for arable agriculture

Food security, tackling climate change through emissions reduction, and developing alternative proteins in New Zealand are three threads that were explored by the Future Scenarios…
View Summary

Pathways to Transition Projects

Dsc9947 Enhanced Nr 1200px Credit Richie Toa Mills

Ngā Tai-o-Rongo

Revitalising ancestral knowledge systems to provide a pathway for Māori landowners to work with the environment, rather than on the environment.
View Project
This project has produced
Information Type Icon Video Outline
Te Taiao framework in use

Lessons from Our Land and Water

The Our Land and Water National Science Challenge journey to a Tiriti-led science partnership: the lived experience and the lessons learned
View Project
Tukituki River and Te Mata Peak. Photo: Phillip Capper via Flickr

Synthesis Scenarios for Future Land Use

Steering land use change to meet water quality targets, through the synthesis of Our Land and Water research
View Project
The Collaboration Lab

The Collaboration Lab

Determining the role of collaboration in transforming management of land and water
View Project

Trust and Social Licence

Investigating the importance of trust and approval by the community of the primary sector’s practices, and the connection to productivity and sustainable growth in New…
View Project
Rural Professional Fund 2021 22

Rural Professionals Fund 2021–22

There were 12 successful projects in the second funding round for the Our Land and Water Rural Professionals Fund.
View Project
Scroll to Top