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

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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

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
Journal Article

Development of a Systems Model for Assessing Pathways to Resilient, Sustainable, and Profitable Agriculture in New Zealand

There is a clear research gap in understanding how future pathways and disruptions to the New Zealand (NZ) agricultural system will have an impact on…
View Journal Article

Future scenarios for arable agriculture – model

This model allows the exploration of scenarios related to the profitability, resilience, and sustainability of arable agriculture in New Zealand over the next 5–30 years.…
View Model

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