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Farmer's risk in decision making: the case of nitrogen application rates

The objective of the study was to demonstrate that crop models can provide the farmer’s desired extra information by simulating the effects of a specific management practice on the economic viability and environment of the farm before the decision is made.

Year of Publication2009

Yield response functions often provide little assistance to farmers in making decisions about farm management strategies. Process-based crop models can play a significant role in the development of alternatives for obtaining sustainable crop production systems. The objective of the study was to demonstrate that crop models can provide the farmer’s desired extra information by simulating the effects of a specific management practice on the economic viability and environment of the farm before the decision is made. The knowledge of such information would allow the farmer to go beyond the constraints imposed by current practices in describing their decision making process. In this study, we used a relatively new crop model called SALUS to compare the effects of the best nitrogen rate suggested by the model with the nitrogen rate currently adopted by the farm manager, in terms of yield response and economic revenue for the farm. The model was also applied in a spatial contest on two previously identified management zones to compare the reduction in NO3 leaching obtained by the best management practices proposed by SALUS. The model provided excellent results when compared to the management data; it also showed to be a valuable tool that would help farmers reduce their economic risk and environmental impact related to N fertilization.

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Additional keywords/tags

nitrogenmanagement practicecrop model
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Supporting the development of the national rural economy.

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