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Draft Animals, Farm Machines and Sustainable Agricultural Production: Insight from China

Author

Listed:
  • Xiaoshi Zhou

    (College of Economics & Management, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China)

  • Wanglin Ma

    (Department of Global Value Chains and Trade, Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce, Lincoln University, Lincoln 7647, Christchurch, New Zealand)

  • Gucheng Li

    (College of Economics & Management, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China)

Abstract

Although draft animals have been playing an essential role in agricultural production worldwide, in recent decades there has been a trend towards replacing draft animals with farm machines. In the areas facing labour shortage due to rural-to-urban migration, the use of farm machines is especially expected to enhance agricultural production and productivity. However, little is known about the extent to which the farm machine use substitutes draft animal use and how the two production activities jointly affect agricultural performance. To fill this gap, this paper attempts to examine the long-run and short-run effects of farm machine use on draft animal use using a pooled mean group estimator, and to estimate the joint effects of farm machine use and draft animal use on agricultural productivity using a panel production function model. The empirical results show that a 1% increase in farm machine use rate tends to decrease draft animal use by 2.82% in the long-run, but it does not have a statistically significant impact on draft animal use in the short-run. In addition, we find that output elasticity of farm machine use has increased from −0.161 in 1978 to 0.170 in 2012, while that of draft animal use has decreased from 0.185 to −0.129 over the same time period. Our findings highlight the importance of government’s efforts in promoting an agricultural transition from animal power to machine power in order to increase sustainable agricultural production.

Suggested Citation

  • Xiaoshi Zhou & Wanglin Ma & Gucheng Li, 2018. "Draft Animals, Farm Machines and Sustainable Agricultural Production: Insight from China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(9), pages 1-16, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:9:p:3015-:d:165628
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhou, Xiaoshi & Ma, Wanglin, 2021. "Effects of Agricultural Mechanization on Land Productivity: Evidence from China," 2021 Conference, August 17-31, 2021, Virtual 315143, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Xiaoshi Zhou & Wanglin Ma & Gucheng Li & Huanguang Qiu, 2020. "Farm machinery use and maize yields in China: an analysis accounting for selection bias and heterogeneity," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 64(4), pages 1282-1307, October.

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