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GAMEDE: A global activity model for evaluating the sustainability of dairy enterprises Part I - Whole-farm dynamic model

By Jonathan Vayssières, François Guerrin, Jean-Marie Paillat and Philippe Lecomte

Abstract

 Crop-livestock farms are complex systems. The interactions operating in such systems involve decisional, biophysical, structural, and environmental factors. Moreover, as farmers face a large range of management options, tools are needed to support their decision-making to enable them to reach production levels meeting their objectives and compatible with their human and physical resources, while controlling their effects on the environment. Gamede, a whole-dairy-farm model, has been developed to explore this complexity and to represent dynamically the effect of management decisions on biomass and nitrogen flows and on numerous sustainability indicators, such as milk and forage crop productivity, labour requirements, nitrogen balance, and nitrogen efficiency. This article describes the integration of six modules accounting for biophysical processes in a dairy farm (forage production; forage conditioning; herd demography; milk, excreta and animal biomass productions; grazing, quality of fertilisers; and nitrogen gaseous emissions) together with a decision system accounting for the farmer's strategy and technical operations. Most of the six biophysical modules incorporate mathematical models from the literature, but the decision system stems from our own original work. Six commercial farms with different structures, agro-climatic conditions and management strategies were used for validation. The model can explain the differences found in their sustainability indicators at the year scale. The intra-year variability of the main biomass stocks and flows is also well explained. This quantitative validation was completed by a qualitative validation from researcher, adviser and farmer points of view, including simulations of prospective scenarios.Whole-farm model Biomass and nitrogen flows Dynamic simulation model Crop-livestock farming Model performances

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