Soil Fertility and Economic Efficiency – the Case of Polish Agriculture

Institute of Agricultural and Food Economics, National Research Institute, 00-002 Warsaw, Poland


WRZASZCZ, W., J. S. ZEGAR and K. PRANDECKI, 2015. Soil fertility and economic efficiency – the case of Polish agriculture. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 21: 467-478

The basis of sustainable agriculture is to maintain a constant, highest possible level of soil fertility, which is one of the main conditions for long-term increasing of agricultural productivity. This condition can be achieved through the use of appropriate agricultural practices, which not only provide ecosystem services, but also are the crucial factor of biodiversity conservation. Agriculture productivity is a multidimensional issue that creates premises to analysis from both environmental and economic efficiency perspective.
The purpose of this article is to assess organisation and efficiency of farms in terms of production and economics, depending on the balance of soil organic matter and agricultural area of the farms. The study covered 1281.9 thousand Polish individual farms with an area of at least 1 ha of agricultural land.
The results indicated that the share of farms with a positive and negative balance of organic matter was similar, both in terms of farms numbers and the level of production factors involved and the standard agricultural output. It is also noted that the maintenance of adequate soil fertility is easier with the increase in area of the farm.
Farms with positive and negative balance of organic matter differed in terms of organisation of plant and animal production. Farms which preserved the productive potential of the soil were characterised by more structure-forming plants. In addition, an important factor in the proper balancing of soil organic matter and the level of economic benefits is the scale and intensity of livestock production. Organic fertilisers are an important determinant of the soil fertility, but too intensive production can disturb the local agro-ecosystem balance.
The results seem to be promising as they indicate positive - desired relationships between environmental and economic objectives at the farm level.

Key words: individual farms, balance of soil organic matter, sustainable agriculture

See the article as a PDF.