Welcome to the Chair Group Agricultural Production and Resource Economics!

Current Projects

PONDERFUL- POND Ecosystems for Resilient FUture Landscapes in a changing climate

Ponds and “pondscapes” (networks of ponds) are crucial for biodiversity conservation and their multiple societally beneficial ecosystem services (ES) provide the means to play a crucial role in mitigating and adapting to climate change. However, ponds are largely neglected in water- and nature-related policies and there is insufficient knowledge on how to manage and restore ponds to maximize nature-based solutions (NBS) to increase resilience of ecosystems and society to climate change. The overarching objective of PONDERFUL is to generate and integrate biodiversity, ecosystems, social, economic and policy knowledge to design and implement evidence-based, nature-based strategies using pondscapes for mitigation and adaptation to climate change... more

IPM Popillia - Integrated Pest Management of the invasive Japanese Beetle, Popillia japonica

The IPM Popillia project seeks to limit the invasion of quarantine pests such as the Japanese Beetle, a pest that was found in Europe for the first time in 2014, using sustainable and environmentally friendly control strategies. Japanese Beetles are already abundant in natural conservation areas, grasslands, forest margins, small structured, fragmented landscapes, or close to residential areas and private gardens, but slowly become a threat to agriculture. The European Union's (EU) Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (SUD) restricts the use of conventional methods of controlling invasive pests in crops and non-crop areas. This implies that pest management strategies using conventional pesticides are technically not feasible or socially inacceptable to address the menace of the Japanese Beetle in crops and non-crop areas that are currently or will in the future be affected... more

SIGMA-Nexus - Sustainable Innovation and Governance in the Mediterranean Area for the Water-Ecosystem-Food Nexus

The overarching objective of SIGMA-Nexus is to develop climate resilience in the Mediterranean region by proposing sustainability pathways within the Water-Ecosystems-Food (WEF) Nexus framework. The four year project is funded by the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) and the EU Horizon 2020 programme... more

Current publications

Profitability Development and Resource Reallocation: The Case of Sugar Beet Farming in Germany

Wimmer, S. and J. Sauer (2020). Journal of Agricultural Economics

The 2006 sugar market reform in the European Union reduced minimum prices for sugar and sugar beets and introduced a voluntary restructuring scheme with buy back production quotas from sugar companies. Consequently, a restructuring of the entire sector occurred. In 2005/06, 189 sugar factories processed sugar beets produced on 305,000 farms; while in 2015/16, the number of factories declined to 109 (-42%) and the number of beet-producing farms to 140,000 (-55%). In our study that is now published in the Journal of Agricultural Economics, we analyze the consequences for German farms. Using data from the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) with 1,940 beet producing farms, we assess the development of sugar beet profitability and sector productivity from 2004 to 2013. Our results show that an increase in total factor productivity (TFP) partly compensated for losses in terms of trade. A small portion of TFP growth can be explained by a reallocation of production from less productive farms towards more productive ones. Finally, we find that the contribution of production reallocation to sector productivity growth varied across regions with distinct ownership structures of sugar processing companies.


Diversification economies in dairy farming – empirical evidence from Germany

Wimmer, S. and J. Sauer (2020). European Review of Agricultural Economics

This article explores how farm size is related to economic benefits from diversification. Using a data set pertaining to Bavarian dairy farms (2000–2014), we estimate an input distance function (IDF) to derive cost complementarities between distinct outputs. A Bayesian estimation technique is used to improve the theoretical consistency of the IDF. The results show that small dairy farms are more likely to benefit from diversification between milk and livestock production, while larger farms tend to benefit from diversification between milk and crop production. Both managerial and policy implications are discussed.


Innovation and performance – evidence at micro level

Sauer, J. and H. Vrolijk (2019). Applied Economics

This empirical study aims to shed light on the link between innovation and economic performance at micro level. Based on a comprehensive survey among dairy and crop farms in the Netherlands we estimate a structural multi-stage model to deliver evidence on the effect of engagement and investment in innovation on the production of product, process and organizational or marketing innovations as well as on the effect of such innovations on farm level productivity. The results suggest various market and farm behaviour related factors to stimulate an increase in innovation engagement and production. Furthermore, the study reveals that indeed a greater innovation investment per unit (innovation input) leads to a higher probability of producing at least one successful product, process and/or organizational or marketing innovation (innovation output). The production of process and organizational or marketing related innovation leads to significant productivity gains. Various recommendations towards a more effective and efficient innovation policy are finally given.