2012 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To analyze the cost and benefits of integrated farming systems which include no-tillage, cover crop, crop rotation, and gypsum soil amendment that enhance soybean productivity on marginal lands under climate change.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
All inputs, operating costs, crop yields, nutrient removal, heavy metal impact, GHG emissions, soil quality improvement, and soil C sequestration rates will be recorded. Economic analyses of farm level profitability and environmental impacts for each of the studied systems will be conducted based on these experimental results. Harvested marketable units will be valued at their net farm (farm gate) price. Variable inputs will be measured and valued at their market or opportunity prices. Transportation costs will be included for inputs purchased from the market. Opportunity cost concepts will be used to value inputs not purchased from the market. Land will be valued at the cash rental rate in local markets and labor will be valued at a rate consistent with local labor markets. Fixed costs of machinery and equipment are difficult to evaluate in experimental situations, as equipment used for plot work may not be sized optimally or represent machinery used by practicing farmers. An appropriate set of equipment will be identified for a representative farm size and priced using new or used equipment market values. Annual use values (depreciation and interest on investment) will then be calculated. Fixed costs of each equipment item will be allocated among enterprises based on the proportion of total machine use by each enterprise. Economic and ecosystem services analyses will be conducted as described by Vadas et al. (2008).
Research activities conducted for this Specific Cooperative Agreement contribute directly to Sub-Objective 2a of the parent project: Evaluate no-till, soil amendment, and cover crop practices as compared to conventional management practices for improving crop yield and soil/water quality in intermittently wet soils.
One goal of this project is to assess the economic performance of our studied soybean production system. Marvin Batte will collaborate with the Keystone Alliance to provide data regarding our studied production system so that the no-tillage, multifunctional cover crops and gypsum soil amendment strategies can be incorporated into their Fieldprint Calculator. Economic performance data provided by our studies should be important to the expansion, and improved accuracy, of the Calculator. We will provide project data to be used to refine the Fieldprint Calculator and make it more accurate. We understand that the goal of the Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, and their Fieldprint Calculator, is to provide systematic analysis of a range of agricultural production systems to provide for continuous improvements in productivity, environmental quality, and human well-being. Clearly, the profitability of a production system impacts both economic sustainability of that business and the well-being of the farm family and surrounding communities. Research Principle Investigators in Alabama, Indiana, and Ohio are populating the database on a regular basis as information is generated. Analysis is done via the Fieldprint Calculator and coordination with Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture.