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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #357174

Research Project: Precipitation and Irrigation Management to Optimize Profits from Crop Production

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Title: Analysis of cattle grazing effects on profitability in dryland wheat-sorgum-fallow rotation with an El Nino-La Nina decision variable

item JESKO, N - West Texas A & M University
item VESTAL, M - West Texas A & M University
item Baumhardt, Roland - Louis
item ALMAS, L - West Texas A & M University
item GUERRERO, B - West Texas A & M University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/5/2018
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: In the Texas High Plains, irrigated land has decreased since 1974 partly due to the declining Ogallala Aquifer which supplies the irrigation water to the area. Sufficient water resources to support continued irrigation for this region may not be available in similar amounts, as in previous years, and may impact profitability of operations. Due to this decline producers look to enhance profitability by intensifying their production systems, including the incorporation of cattle grazing. For example, grazing wheat grown for forage or dual purpose forage and grain production increased profitability over the corresponding grain-only system. Cattle grazing intensifies production of the dryland wheat, sorghum, fallow (WSF) rotation in the United States Southern High Plains, but our objective was to examine the profitability of this system while using a decision variable of El Niño-La Niña years and the potential weather patterns that accompany them. Based on grazing results, regional average monthly commodity prices, and enterprise budgets generated by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service we determined variable and fixed costs for grazing (owned or contracted) enterprises for El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phases. Over the study period, 2000-2009, crop yields when using the El Niño-La Niña decision variable were higher for both sorghum and wheat during the El Niño years. Likewise, grazing the WSF rotation was more profitable in every scenario than non-grazing, and using the ENSO decision variable, whether owning or contracting cattle, increased profit over every other system.