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Testing Day's Conjecture that More Nitrogen Decreases Crop Yield Skewness

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Abstract

While controversy surrounds skewness attributes of typical yield distributions, a better understanding is important for agricultural policy assessment and for crop insurance rate setting. Day (1965) conjectured that crop yield skewness declines with an increase in low levels of nitrogen use, but higher levels have no effect. In a theoretical model based on the law of the minimum (von Liebig) technology, we find conditions under which Day’s conjecture applies. Employing four experimental plot datasets, we investigate the conjecture by introducing (a) a flexible Bayesian extension of the Just-Pope technology to incorporate skewness, and (b) a quantile-based measure of skewness shift. For corn yields, the Bayesian estimation provides strong evidence in favor of negative skewness at commercial nitrogen rates and for Day’s conjecture. There was weaker evidence in favor of positively skewed cotton yield and little evidence in favor of the conjecture. The results are also confirmed by the quantile-based measure.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University in its series Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications with number 10-wp511.

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Date of creation: Aug 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ias:cpaper:10-wp511

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Keywords: crop insurance; Gibbs sampler; Just and Pope technology; negative skewness; quantile regression.;

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Cited by:
  1. Brorsen, B. Wade, 2013. "Using Bayesian Estimation and Decision Theory to Determine the Optimal Level of Nitrogen in Cotton," 2013 Annual Meeting, February 2-5, 2013, Orlando, Florida, Southern Agricultural Economics Association 142951, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
  2. Jesse Tack & David Ubilava, 2013. "The effect of El Niño Southern Oscillation on U.S. corn production and downside risk," Climatic Change, Springer, Springer, vol. 121(4), pages 689-700, December.
  3. Du, Xiaodong & Hennessy, David A. & Yu, Cindy L. & Miao, Ruiqing, 2012. "Geography of Crop Yield Skewness," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 124748, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  4. Tolhurst, Tor & Ker, Alan P., 2013. "On Technological Change in Crop Yields," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C., Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 151269, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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