Farm Size, Risk Aversion and Overuse of Fertilizer: The Heterogeneity of Large-Scale and Small-Scale Wheat Farmers in Northern China | Land Portal

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February 2021
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© 2021 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

The excessive use of fertilizer has resulted in serious environmental degradation and a high health cost in China. Understanding the reasons for the overuse of fertilizer is critical to the sustainable development of Chinese agriculture, and large-scale operation is considered as one of the measures to deal with the excessive fertilizer use. Under the premise of fully considering the resource endowment and heterogeneity of large-scale farmers and small-scale farmers in production and management, different production decision-making frameworks were constructed. Based on the 300 large-scale farmers and 480 small-scale farmers in eight provinces of northern China wheat region, we analyzed the optimal fertilizer use amount and its deviation as well as the influencing factors of small-scale and large-scale farmers, then further clarified whether the development of scale management could solve the problem of excessive fertilizer use. The empirical results show that: (1) both small-scale farmers and large-scale farmers deviated from the optimal fertilizer application amount, where the deviation degree of optimal fertilizer application of small-scale farmers is significantly higher than that of large-scale farmers, with a deviation degree of 35.43% and 23.69% for small and large scale farmers, respectively; (2) not all wheat growers in North China had the problem of excessive use of chemical fertilizer, as the optimal level of chemical fertilizer application in Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia are 346.5 kgha−1 and 335.25 kgha−1, while the actual fertilizer use amount was 337.2 kgha−1 and 324.6 kgha−1, respectively; and (3) the higher the risk aversion level, farmers tended to apply more fertilizer to ensure grain output. Therefore, increasing farm size should be integrated into actions such as improving technological innovation and providing better information transfer to achieve the goal of zero-increase in Chinese fertilizer use.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Wu, Haixia
Hao, Hantao
Lei, Hongzhen
Ge, Yan
Shi, Hengtong
Song, Yan


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