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To Till or Not to Till? Social Profitability of No-Till Technology


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  • Lankoski, Jussi E.
  • Ollikainen, Markku
  • Uusitalo, Pekka


We study from economic and environmental angles under what conditions no-till technology is socially optimal. We demonstrate theoretically that if yield under no-till is equal to or greater than under conventional technology, its adoption is socially optimal provided that herbicide runoff damages under both technologies are close enough. Finnish data shows, however, that only in one case out of three no-till provides higher social returns. In terms of nutrient runoffs no-till performs better than conventional technology. No-till reduces surface runoffs of nitrogen by 58%, and surface runoffs of particulate phosphorus by 70% relative to conventional technology, but causes more than three times higher dissolved phosphorus surface runoffs. The amount of total phosphorus surface runoff is, however, lower under no-till. No-till produces higher total herbicide runoff because of higher use of herbicides to control perennial weeds.

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Paper provided by European Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 2005 International Congress, August 23-27, 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark with number 24755.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ags:eaae05:24755

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Related research

Keywords: nutrient runoffs; herbicide runoffs; buffer strips; agri-environmental policy; Crop Production/Industries; Q16; Q18; H23;

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  1. JunJie Wu & Richard M. Adams & Catherine L. Kling & Katsuya Tanaka, 2004. "From Microlevel Decisions to Landscape Changes: An Assessment of Agricultural Conservation Policies," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(1), pages 26-41.
  2. Jussi Lankoski & Markku Ollikainen, 2003. "Agri-environmental externalities: a framework for designing targeted policies," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 30(1), pages 51-75, March.
  3. Uri, Noel D., 1998. "Conservation tillage and the use of energy and other inputs in US agriculture," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 389-410, September.
  4. Fuglie, Keith O., 1999. "Conservation Tillage And Pesticide Use In The Cornbelt," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 31(01), April.
  5. Katherine Baylis & Peter Feather & Merritt Padgitt & Carmen Sandretto, 2002. "Water-Based Recreational Benefits of Conservation Programs: The Case of Conservation Tillage on U.S. Cropland," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 24(2), pages 384-393.
  6. J. K. Horowitz & E. Lichtenberg, 1994. "Risk-Reducing And Risk-Increasing Effects Of Pesticides," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 82-89.
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