ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0198.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Psychology Keywords: behavior change; fertilizer application; theory; systems science; sugarcane; social norms; extension services; agronomy; management practices.
Online: 8 December 2020 (10:06:35 CET)
Research focused on understanding wider systemic factors driving behavioral change is limited with a dominant focus on the role of individual farmer and psychosocial factors for farming practice change, including reducing fertilizer application in agriculture. Adopting a wider systems perspective, the current study examines change and the role that supporting services have on fertilizer application rate change. A total of 238 sugarcane growers completed surveys reporting on changes in fertilizer application along with factors that may explain behavior change. Logistic regressions and negative binomial count-data regressions were used to examine whether farmers had changed fertilizer application rates and if they had, how long ago they made the change, and to explore the impact of individual and system factors in influencing change. Approximately one in three sugarcane growers surveyed (37%) had changed the method they used to calculate fertilizer application rates for the cane land they owned/managed at some point. Logistic regression results indicated growers were less likely to change the basis for their fertilizer calculation if they regarded maintaining good relationships with other local growers as being extremely important, they had another source of off-farm income, and if they had not attended a government-funded fertilizer management workshop in the five years preceding the survey. Similar drivers promoted early adoption of fertilizer practice change; namely, regarding family traditions and heritage as being unimportant, having sole decision-making authority on farming activities and having attended up to 5 workshops in the five years prior to completing the survey. Results demonstrated the influence of government-funded services to support practice change.