In order to analyse optimisation strategies in various agricultural systems considering sustainability (Fig. 10.2.) we propose to make a distinction between the most important and climate-sensitive agricultural resources to be managed, such as water, soil (including nutrients), crop (including management) and microclimatic conditions in relation to low, medium and high agricultural input systems. Of course, many farm technology optimization strategies can affect more than one of these resources at the same time. Low-input systems may be characterized as small farm structures and with low income in a less developed socioeconomic environment as is found in developing countries (almost no financial reserves for investment in farm technologies available). Medium input systems might be characterized as small farm structures with acceptable farm income in a good socioeconomic environment, as in small farms in Western Europe (limited financial reserves for investment in farm technologies available). High input systems might be characterized as farms with high income levels in any socioeconomic environment, where there is theoretically no limitation to investment in new farm technologies.
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