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  • Author or Editor: Kaijun Chen x
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Pear (Pyrus spp.) is the third-largest economic crop in China after apples (Malus pumila Mill.) and citrus (Citrus reticulata Blanco), and it is mainly cultivated by smallholders. Currently, the yield of Chinese pear ranks midlevel globally, with only 17.9 t⋅ha−1⋅year−1, which is lower than that of the United States (36.0 t⋅ha−1⋅year−1). However, the factors limiting pear production dominated by smallholders are unclear. We interviewed 75 smallholders about 18 yield-related indicators for pear-typical planting areas. The boundary line model was used to analyze the contribution of internal factors and dominant external factors affecting yield and to simulate strategies for increasing yield through the scenario analysis. The results showed that the average gap between the average and highest attainable yields for smallholders was 10.5 t⋅ha−1⋅year−1 in Luniao County. Among individual yield-limiting factors, chemical fertilizer nitrogen (N) input (13.3%) was the most significant, followed by the soil-available N content (12.0%) and leaf magnesium content (12.0%). Overall, the contribution of all soil factors (42.7%) was the largest compared with the other factor categories. However, the contribution of internal factors could not be ignored and accounted for 25.3% of the total. A scenario analysis showed that comprehensive strategies considering soil, management, and internal factors achieved the largest yield improvement (14%), as did reducing the fertilizer application rate (66%) compared with only using soil or leaf diagnosis methods. Therefore, integrated methods should be considered when developing pear orchard management measures and include soil, management, and internal factors.

Open Access