Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2005
Publication Date: November 9, 2005
Citation: Vigil, M.F., Nielsen, D.C., Henry, W.B., Benjamin, J.G., Mikha, M.M., Calderon, F.J. 2005. How much fallow: Evaluating the economics of alternative rotations at Akron, Colorado. Agronomy Abstract. Presented at the 2005 ASA,CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting. Nov. 6-10, 2005. Salt Lake City, UT Technical Abstract: Winter wheat-summer fallow (W-F) in the Central Great Plains of the U.S.A. is not a long term sustainable dryland system. Utilizing no-till and more intensive cropping we are evaluating several alternative rotations and rotation technologies that are an improvement over WF. One question often asked by the regions producers is: “which rotation has the most favorable returns?”. Here we examine the economics of 7 rotation sequences and evaluate the effect of rotation intensity. Specifically we evaluate how far we can push the system to eliminate fallow. Seven rotations (established in 1991 ) are evaluated. Grain yields were measured in each rotation over an 11 year period starting 4 years after rotation establishment (1994-2004). The grain yield data was used to develop rules of thumb regarding long term average yields as affected by rotation sequence and then an economic analysis of net returns to land labor and capital was generated for the 7 rotations. That analysis indicated the most favorable sequences were wheat-millet-fallow (WMF) wheat-corn -millet-fallow (WCMF) and wheat-millet (WM). The poorest performance was measured with WF and WCM. Calculations were included that incorporated recent innovations in corn planting technology (skip-row). That new technology shows promise in stabilizing corn yields in dryland systems. Calculations that included the skip-row innovation suggest a shift toward rotations that have more corn and millet in them than those presented here.