Resources Science ›› 2019, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (7): 1240-1249.doi: 10.18402/resci.2019.07.05

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Effects of land management scale on fertilizer use efficiency: Taking Jiangsu as an example

Wei ZOU(), Xiaoyuan ZHANG   

  1. College of Public Administration, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
  • Received:2019-01-02 Revised:2019-04-02 Online:2019-07-25 Published:2019-07-25


Moderate management scale is an inexorable trend of modern agriculture development. Examining the effect of management scale on fertilizer use efficiency and whether moderate management scale can improve fertilizer use efficiency and realize zero growth of fertilizer application is of great significance for promoting sustainable development. Based on farm-level data collected from Jiangsu Province and a stochastic production frontier model, this study estimated the fertilizer use efficiency and the elasticities of land, fertilizer, and labor with respect to output. Furthermore, this study adopted the Tobit model to estimate the main factors influencing fertilizer use efficiency. The empirical results show that the average fertilizer use efficiency was 0.53 in Jiangsu, implying that about 47% fertilizer was not effectively absorbed by crops. Farm size has significantly different impacts on fertilizer use efficiency, expansion of large-scale farms would increase fertilizer use efficiency, whereas expansion of small-scale farms would decrease fertilizer use efficiency, which would result in a serious waste of fertilizer. In general, the fertilizer use efficiency of Jiangsu Province is generally low, but expanding the scale of operation will help to improve the fertilizer use efficiency under certain conditions. Based on these results, we conclude that it is necessary to promote the reduction of farmers’ fertilizer use costs through the economy of scale and division of labor, guide small-scale farmers to outsource services in the fertilization process, thus reducing the once for all and over-fertilization tendency; promote precision fertilization technology by local governments to reduce the unintended excessive fertilization of farmers; and make full use of the scale of economy effects and further promote appropriate scale management.

Key words: farm size, transfer-in land, fertilizer use efficiency, stochastic frontier production functions, Jiangsu Province