SAC # 87

Comparing the energy intensity of conventional and organic approaches to agriculture using Energy Return on Investment (EROI) 



TIME | 27 May 2010, 4pm onwards

LOCATION | CSAFE Seminar Room, , Dunedin

SPEAKER | Solis Norton


There is a growing awareness in New Zealand and around the world of the unsustainable nature of our current agricultural practices and a lack of dialogue and action on how to achieve sustainability in the face of emerging resource constraints.

The Agricultural Research Group On Sustainability (ARGOS) is a longitudinal of six years comparing Conventional, Organic, and Integrated approaches to managing groups of dairy farms, sheep and beef farms, and kiwifruit orchards.

Analysing the flows of energy into and out of a farm or orchard is a valuable way of quantifying its intensity. Making a ratio of these flows (outputs/inputs, Energy Return On Investment, EROI) is a way of quantifying efficiency and provides a platform on which a diverse range of production and management systems can be directly compared.
In this presentation the energetic inputs and outputs, and the EROI of the different management systems will be compared and discussed in view of the challenges associated with creating genuinely sustainable agricultural systems.

About the Speaker

Solis Norton is based at the Centre for the Study of Agriculture, Food, and Environment at the University of Otago. He is working primarily with the Agricultural Research Group On Sustainability. His current interest in energy and sustainability in agriculture has grown from a background in agricultural science and a PhD veterinary epidemiology.


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