Sustainable Agriculture Practices as a Driver for Increased Harvested Cropland among Large-Scale Growers in Arizona: A Paradox for Small-Scale Growers

Isaac K. Mpanga, Gunter Neumann, Ursula K. Schuch, Jeff Schalau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Extreme climate variability is a major factor threatening crop production in Arizona State. However, limited information exists on how growers are adapting with land-use practices. Using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Agricultural Census (2012 and 2017) of the US Department of Agriculture, this study investigates trends of land-use practices among small- and large-scale growers and their possible effects on harvested cropland. From 2012 to 2017, there are reductions in total farmlands (−0.5%) and vegetable production lands (−4%) with varying temperatures, precipitation, and drought severity index. However, harvested crop- and vegetable land increased by 3% and 11%, respectively, which was mainly influenced by large-scale growers. This coincided with an increase in sustainable land-use practices such as conservation agriculture no-till (103%), reduced tillage (71%), and cover cropping (123%) which are most popular among large-scale growers. Manure application also increased by 30%. However, there were reductions in other practices such as intensive tillage (−9%), use of commercial fertilizers (−0.2%), nematicides (−63%), and chemical diseases control (−16%). Unfortunately, non-sustainable practices (irrigation, insecticide, and herbicide application increased by 27%, 39%, and 10%, respectively. This study reveals potential benefits of sustainable agricultural practices in Arizona and a need for increased adoption among small-acreage growers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1900143
JournalAdvanced Sustainable Systems
Volume4
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

Keywords

  • conservation agriculture
  • cover cropping
  • irrigation
  • no-till
  • reduced tillage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)

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