Precise Nitrogen Recommendations Improve Economic and Environmental Outcomes in Rice Production
28 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2022
Using data from seven rice growing seasons and 1,129 rice producers who submitted soil samples for N testing we use a stepwise Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) to monetize the environmental improvements from historical N-STaR adoption. N-STaR is a N test specifically targeted to the unique growing conditions of paddy rice. Quantification of environmental impacts (like those estimated in this study), which are non-market goods/services in terms of a monetary unit (that is, a single score), facilitates comparison amongst alternate management technologies, in our case, N-STaR adoption. Average annual benefits were estimated at 15.51 million (2018 USD), of which 70% are ecosystem benefits, 25% N application cost savings, and 5% aerial N application savings. Our findings suggest that by overlooking the environmental benefits of N-STaR adoption, and only focusing on the cost savings from reduced N application, the benefit-cost ratio would be underestimated by 286%. As environmental concerns grow in production agriculture, commodity yield ceilings are approached, and more and private monies flow into input-reducing research, accounting for environmental benefits and potential foregone environmental damage is becoming more important. Often at the state/province/federal level soil tests are subsidized to some extent and studies like this provide more evidence to funding bodies that they need to not only look at the benefits to producers from soil testing but society as well.
Keywords: rice, life cycle analysis, Soil Testing
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