Economic value of soil quality in Dutch arable and dairy farming

The aim of my this research is to obtain insight in the trade-off between short-term profit and long-term soil quality. Soil quality is an important determinant for crop productivity. High land prices in the Netherlands force farmers to intensive cropping plans which endanger long-term soil quality through e.g. soil-borne diseases and soil compaction (Hamza and Anderson, 2005; Dogliotti et al. 2003).

Technical solutions, e.g. less intensive cropping management, will reduce the short-term gross margins, but in return, increased soil quality will have a positive effect on long-term gross margin of crops. Therefore the key problem is economic: establishing long-term optimization of soil quality at minimized loss of short-term gross margins. The short-term loss in gross margins can be considered as an investment that represents the Economic Value of Soil Quality (EVsq).

This research aims to achieve scientifc breakthrough in the following fields:

1: Thorough understanding and conceptualization of the problem Economic Value of Soil Quality
2: Development of an integrated approach towards soil quality
3: Development of a dynamic stochastic model for optimization land use activities regarding the trade-off soil quality and short-term profit
4: Application of the developed model in case studies for arable and dairy farming in the Netherlands

This PhD research is project of the chair groups Business Economics and Operations Research and Logistics. The PhD researcher, Maarten Kik, works for both chair groups.