Upscaling farming operations, agricultural mechanization and chemical pesticide usage: A macro-analysis of Jiangsu Province, China

Min Su, Nico Heerink, Peter Oosterveer, Shuyi Feng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The upscaling of farming operations in China has been advancing rapidly in recent years. This trend is likely to increase the use of agricultural machinery inputs, and possibly also the use of chemical pesticides, which is already extremely high. The relationship between farm size and the intensity of chemical pesticide usage is a subject of debate, and little is known about the mechanisms that might underlie this relationship. In this paper, we apply an integrated framework of larger-scale farming, agricultural mechanization and the intensity of chemical pesticide usage to examine and quantify the mediating effect of agricultural mechanization on the relationship between larger-scale farming and the use of chemical pesticides. Results obtained by applying seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) considering two-way fixed-effects and mediation analysis to county-level data for Jiangsu Province (2002–2019) suggest that an increase of 1% in the ratio of scale of farming is related to a total decline of 0.070% in chemical pesticide usage per hectare of land. Mediation analysis subsequently identifies mechanical sowing/transplanting is the only mediating variable, through which an increase of 1% in the ratio of scale of farming reduces the unit consumption of chemical pesticides by 0.017%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135120
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume380
Issue numberPart 2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Land consolidation
  • Mediation effects
  • Modern agriculture
  • Sustainable development

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