INFORM is a farm optimisation model that allows for assessment of targeted investments into farm systems and the best use of resources within the farm. This would inform farm management decisions to maximise profit and adjust to resource allocation requirements for environmental outcomes.
“INFORM” (Integrated Farm Optimisation and Resource Allocation Model) is a farm systems model that integrates biological data from each land management unit (similar natural resources and management practices) (LMU) within the farm. It uses LMU information to identify the mix of production enterprises and management regimes that could maximise profit (EBIDTA) for the business.
This modelling approach helps isolate and examine the value of investments targeted at specific parts of the farm on the whole farm business, and could potentially offer analysis that will make best use of resources within defined boundaries, for targeted performance of ecosystem services delivery. The challenge of maximising the value of an onfarm investment is dependent on two factors:
The INFORM model aims to addresses both these issues.
INFORM has the ability to integrate independently obtained biological data from each of the defined land management units (similar natural resources and management practices) within the farm system and place operational boundaries on the use or emissions from each land management unit before optimising profit. The optimisation routine within the model uses the information from each land management unit to identify the mix of production enterprises and management regimes that maximise profit (EBITDA) for the business.
This represents a step change over a standard approach that typically explores economic outcome first and then mitigates for specific losses (e.g. Nitrates (N03-), Phosphorus (P), Greenhouse Gases (GHGs)) and conditions. Optimisation of the farm system within operational boundaries can consider the consequences of multiple drivers simultaneously as an integral part of the farm system design and analysis.
The development and application of the INFORM model has been presented and published (Rendel et al. 2013; Rendel et. al. 2015)
The INFORM model does not output environmental footprints of the optimised farm systems. In studies undertaken the OVERSEER® nutrient budget was used, based on the optimal systems generated by INFORM, to model N, P and GHGs losses from the three scenarios.
|State of Development||Unknown|
|Outcome Areas||Economic, Environmental|
|Intended End Users||
|Spatial Extents||Land or Business Unit|
|Steady State or Dynamic||Steady State|
|Level of Integration||Environmental, Economic|
|Key Input Data||land use, farm management|
|Open/Closed Source||Closed Source|
|Operating Systems||MS Windows|
|Ease of Use||Please Select|
|Keywords||Farm optimisation, resource allocation|
Estelle Dominati, Alec Mackay, J.Rendel, and P. Smale (2016): Looking to the future of land evaluation and farm planning. Journal of New Zealand Grasslands 78: 67-72.
Estelle Dominati, Murray Patterson, Alec Mackay (2010): A framework for classifying and quantifying the natural capital and ecosystem services of soil. Ecological Economics, Volume 69, Issue 9, Pages 1858-1868.
Rendel, J.M.; Mackay, A.D.; Manderson, A.; O’Neill, K. 2013. Optimising farm resource allocation to maximise profit using a new generation integrated whole farm planning model. Proceedings of the New Zealand Grasslands Association 75: 85-90.