BAB 006/98: International Farm Comparison: IFCN, agri-benchmark

Initial situation

The increasing interconnectedness of markets means that there is a greater need for information, for example when assessing the competitiveness of companies and locations in different regions. However, due to the different definitions of key figures and the methods used, international calculations are often difficult or impossible to compare. For this purpose, international networks were founded in which experts from the fields of science, consulting and practice work closely together to make international data and information comparable and assessable.

The aim of this project is to provide data for farm comparisons, to discuss the results in an international context and to contribute to the methodological and organisational development of the concepts of the two international networks IFCN (International Farm Comparison Network) and agri-benchmark (for cash crops). This means, among other things, to collect, check the plausibility of and provide Austria-specific data according to the specifications. On the other hand, the existing data sources can be used for own scientific work, e.g. within the framework of production cost comparisons. In addition, professional exchange and further training on various topics in the form of online workshops are gaining in importance.

Status of the project

The Federal Institute for Agricultural Economics and Mining Research has been part of the IFCN network for milk production for several years and was one of more than 40 scientific partner institutes in 2022. In the meantime, the IFCN data cover 126 countries (125 plus the EU), representing about 99% of global milk production. The farm analysis covers 54 countries with 178 typical farms in 64 regions. In 2021, data was also collected on selected dairy farms by means of a standardised questionnaire and plausibility checked with expert advisors. The evaluation of the transmitted data was carried out uniformly by the IFCN central office with the help of the TIPI-CAL farm model. In addition, the IFCN network sends a questionnaire to be filled out every year regarding the development of important sector-specific data. The evaluation results were also discussed at the IFCN annual meeting in Kiel and form the basis of the annual IFCN Dairy Report.
As part of the agri-benchmark network under the leadership of the Thünen Institute, data for a typical farm in the drylands of Austria were again collected in 2022. The aim was to comply with the network's specifications both in terms of the selection process for the typical farms and the key figures to be collected. The Thünen Institute provides an MS Access-based application for uniform data collection. Due to the Covid-19-related restrictions, no farm visits could take place in 2022; instead, the typical farm of the previous year was used as a basis and the data updated or compared with official statistics. After a plausibility check of the results, the data will be transmitted and entered into the network's database in spring 2022. After two annual meetings organised online due to Covid, the 2022 meeting could again take place in presence (Poznan region, Poland, 6-9 June 2022). In addition to an outline of Polish cash crop production and the results of the network's evaluations, the discussion also focused on carbon farming, precision farming and strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Work in 2023

For 2023, the IFCN network again plans to collect farm data on selected farms. These data will be collected in the first quarter, coordinated with advisors, checked for plausibility and entered into the network's data pool. Participation in the annual IFCN conference is also planned for 2023, although it is not yet foreseeable whether this can be held as an attendance event. In addition, more use is to be made of the range of workshops.

With regard to the agri-benchmark network, consideration should be given to defining a wetland farm in addition to the dryland farm, collecting data and entering it into the common database. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, this project has been postponed. The aim is also to use the network data for various analyses and to publish technical articles. Participation in the annual conference is also planned, but also in subject-specific workshops.


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Project Leader


DI Dipl.-Päd. Ing. Josef HAMBRUSCH

Agricultural Economics and Data Management




Agricultural Economics and Data Management
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