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Article
Publication date: 26 July 2012

Weihong Fan, Raymond G. Mueller, Weili Qiu and Michael J. Hozik

– The purpose of this study is to compare the different pesticides management practices and productions in three apple farms in the Northeastern US and Northern China.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to compare the different pesticides management practices and productions in three apple farms in the Northeastern US and Northern China.

Design/methodology/approach

Interviews and surveys were conducted in the three farms between the summer of 2010 and spring of 2011. Production, pesticide and fertilizer usage, and labor costs were calculated for comparison.

Findings

The conventional US apple grower manages his farm for maximum production and minimum labor costs. As a result, the farm achieved a high yield of 24.68 kg/dollar, but low health value for the highest amount of pesticide expenditure ($2.43 per 100 kg of apples). The organic apple farm aims at minimizing environmental impact and protecting consumers. Its yield was 14.22 kg/dollar with 15-30 percent greater labor costs. The health value of the apples improved with pesticide expenditure of $1.66 per 100 kg of apples. This farm uses only the least toxic pesticide certified by OMRI. The traditional apple farm in Northern China spent 1,365 hours/ha on bagging to protect consumers, comparing to only 252 hours/ha of total labor spent in the conventional apple farm. Annual production of the Chinese farm was 22,727 kg/ha, which was only 50 percent of the conventional apple production and 71 percent of the organic apple production.

Originality/value

The results reveal great potential for a much better economic and environmental effectiveness in the Chinese apple farm if they redirect labor from bagging to an effort for production and efficient management while still providing consumer protection.

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