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Excessive Application of Fertilizer, Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollution, and Farmers’ Policy Choice


  • Haixia Wu

    (International Business School, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710119, China)

  • Yan Ge

    (School of Public Finance and Tax, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing 100081, China)


This paper takes 516 households who planted wheat in Heyang County, Shaanxi Province in 2018, as samples to construct three policy environments: Technological guidance for planting, subsidies for organic fertilizer application, and agricultural tailwater discharge standards. The experimental choice method was used to empirically analyze policy preferences during the process of fertilizer reduction. The results indicate that households show different preferences for the three policy settings: The fertilizer application rate is reduced by 6.98% if providing full technological guidance for farmers throughout the wheat planting process and is reduced by 5.18% under the background of providing appropriate organic fertilizer subsidies. The agricultural tailwater discharge standards have the least impact on the reducing level of chemical fertilizer application, with decreasing amounts of only 1.85% and 0.77% under the second-level and the first-level agricultural tailwater discharge standards, respectively. These results indicate that households in Heyang County, Shaanxi Province, demonstrate a low willingness to accept the agricultural tailwater discharge standards in order to cut down on the amount of chemical fertilizer application and the agricultural non-point source pollution. Therefore, compared with a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1% of fertilizer usage nationwide according to the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, given the current planting environment and policies design, providing comprehensive technological guidance as well as price subsidies for the organic fertilizer can significantly and robustly reduce the excessive application of fertilizer in Heyang County, Shaanxi Province, under the best scenario, thereby further alleviating agricultural non-point source pollution.

Suggested Citation

  • Haixia Wu & Yan Ge, 2019. "Excessive Application of Fertilizer, Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollution, and Farmers’ Policy Choice," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(4), pages 1-17, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:11:y:2019:i:4:p:1165-:d:208241

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Yinhao Wu & Enru Wang & Changhong Miao, 2019. "Fertilizer Use in China: The Role of Agricultural Support Policies," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(16), pages 1-23, August.
    2. Zhao, Zhiyuan & Zheng, Wei & Ma, Yanting & Wang, Xianling & Li, Ziyan & Zhai, Bingnian & Wang, Zhaohui, 2020. "Responses of soil water, nitrate and yield of apple orchard to integrated soil management in Loess Plateau, China," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 240(C).

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