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What does benchmarking of wheat farmers practicing conservation tillage in the eastern Indo-Gangetic Plains tell us about energy use efficiency? An application of slack-based data envelopment analysis

Sreejith Aravindakshan, Frederick J. Rossi and Timothy J. Krupnik

Energy, 2015, vol. 90, issue P1, 483-493

Abstract: Escalating energy costs are an increasing concern for South Asian farmers growing rice and wheat in rotation. Millions of people in the IGP (Indo-Gangetic Plains) depend on this cropping system for food and income security. CT (conservation tillage) practices, including mechanical BP (bed planting), PTOS (power-tiller operated seeding), and ST (strip tillage), are advocated by donors and development organizations as profitable, high yielding, and energy-efficient alternatives to TT (traditional tillage). However, most studies on the EUE (energy input use efficiency) of CT originate from researcher-controlled and on-station experiments. Comparatively little information is available on the EUE of CT practices as farmers apply them in their own fields, and under their own management decisions. This research responds to this gap, and analyzes EUE of each of these three CT options, compared to TT, by surveying 328 rice-wheat farmers in north-western Bangladesh. Concentrating on wheat production, we employed a non-parametric benchmarking technique involving slack-based measures of technical efficiency, along with a fractional regression model to identify and compute the wasteful use of energy. PTOS achieved the highest EUE score (0.92), followed closely by BP and ST (both 0.91), whereas TT (0.68) was significantly (p<0.001) different and lower than the CT practices.

Keywords: Conservation agriculture; Energy efficiency; Fractional regression model; Slack-based DEA; Technical efficiency; Bangladesh (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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