Climate change and policy impacts on protein crop production: a case study on integrated modeling

Franz Sinabell


This paper addresses protein crop production in Europe. European food and feed industries highly depend on imported protein crops and derived products and climate change is likely to affect domestic protein crop production and thus the import dependency. The recent reform of EU agricultural policy reform aims at promoting climate friendly agricultural practices and stimulating the production of protein crops. We choose three contrasting climate change scenarios as well as specifications of the recent CAP reform in order to investigate how farmers might adapt to changing land use restrictions and climate conditions. Output response, land allocation and nitrogen use are the main variables of interest. Exemplified for Austrian cropland, we apply an integrated modeling framework consisting of a statistical climate change model, a crop rotation model, the bio-physical process model EPIC, and the economic bottom-up land use optimization model BiomAT. This model maximizes total gross margins by optimizing for land use and crop management practices for different scenarios of climate change and market conditions. Results obtained at a 1 km grid are aggregated to the national level. The model results indicate that changes in policy conditions, cropland use, and flexibility in crop management practices may have stronger effects on total protein crop production than climate change in the next decades. An expansion of current protein crop production leads to an increase in marginal opportunity costs, reduces mineral fertilizer input demand, and mainly replaces maize in the crop rotations.


integrated modeling; protein crop production; climate change; CAP reform; Austria

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Authors: Hermine Mitter1*, Erwin Schmid1, Franz Sinabell2

Affiliations: 1University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienne; Institute for Sustainable Economic Development, Feistmantelstrasse 4, 1180 Vienna, Austria; 2WIFO – Austrian Institute of Economic Research, Arsenal Objekt 20, 1030 Vienna, Austria;

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