Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

NZ–FARM: New Zealand Forest and Agriculture Regional Model



Landcare Research has recently developed the New Zealand Forest and Agriculture Regional Model (NZ-FARM). The primary intention of NZ-FARM is to help decision-makers assess the potential economic and environmental impacts of policy on regional land use.  The model is parameterised to maximise rural income across a catchment, accounting for the environmental impacts of land use and land-use changes.  NZ-FARM currently tracks environmental outputs such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture and forestry, forest carbon sequestration, water use, and nutrient and pesticide losses. Further development to include ecosystem services such as pollination is currently under way.

The model and how it works

NZ-FARM is a comparative-static, partial equilibrium model of regional New Zealand land use that maximizes rural income across a catchment, accounting for the environmental impacts of land use and land-use changes. The model allows adjustments in regional land management subject to the availability of land and farm inputs (e.g., water), and environmental constraints (e.g., GHG or nutrient loading caps). Key components of NZ-FARM include:

  • Land-use/enterprises
    • Pastoral: Dairy, sheep, beef, deer
    • Arable: Wheat, barley, maize
    • Horticultural: Potatoes, grapes, berryfruit
    • Forestry: Pine, eucalyptus, native
    • Other: Scrub and Dept of Conservation Land
  • Environmental outputs
    • Nutrients: Nitrogen and Phosphorous
    • GHGs for farm and forest activities
    • Water use
  • Endogenous farm practices
    • Change enterprise or land use
    • Adjust fertilizer and stocking rates
    • Add dairy feed pad or apply DCDs
    • Enrol stand in forest carbon sequestration programme

NZ-FARM has been used to assess the changes in land use, farm management, and environmental outputs for the following policy scenarios:

  • Increase in water storage from capital improvement projects
  • Proposed caps on nitrogen and phosphorous loads
  • Implementation of NZ-ETS on the forest sector
  • Implementation of NZ-ETS on the agriculture sector
  • Regional afforestation schemes
  • Implementation of new farm technology and best management practices
  • Increases in farm input costs and/or output prices
The model has been developed for the Hurunui/Waiau and Manawatu catchments. Additional catchments will be added as data becomes available.


  • NZ-FARM model
    NZ-FARM model

    18 Feb 13 by Suzie Greenhalgh

    NZ-FARM is a new tool that looks at how changes in environmental policy might affect a farmer's bottom line.