Though European policies recommend pesticide reduction, most farmers
still manage their crops with a high level of chemical inputs, notably
in arable crop-based systems. Factors influencing farmers’ practices are not
well-known. The authors interviewed 71 French farmers to understand the factors influencing their choice
of crop management plans. Results revealed three
main types of practices: (1) 29 %
of farmers use low levels of inputs and get low yield, (2) 38 % of
farmers use medium levels of inputs and get high yield, (3) 33 % of
farmers use high levels of inputs and get medium yield. We showed that farm profile, individual
motives, and social commitments explain the level of input use.
High-input practices are often implemented by farmers who have less
family labor availability and who rarely join extension groups, whereas
low-input practices are conducted by farmers bearing civic
responsibilities and showing environmental awareness.