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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fayetteville, Arkansas » Poultry Production and Product Safety Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #364546

Research Project: Quantifying Air and Water Quality Benefits of Improved Poultry Manure Management Practices

Location: Poultry Production and Product Safety Research

Title: Crop rotation and bio-cover impact on no-tillage corn, soybean, and cotton profitability in Tennessee

item ZHOU, VIVIAN - University Of Tennessee
item LARSON, JAMES - University Of Tennessee
item ALLEN, FRED - University Of Tennessee
item Ashworth, Amanda
item SYKES, VIRGINIA - University Of Tennessee

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/30/2019
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Crop rotations and winter cover crops may enhance crop yields, while providing crop diversity, soil erosion, and ecosystem services. However, farmers may be reluctant to adopt these practices because of profitability uncertainty. This study determined the profitability of crop rotations and bio-covers [cover crops and poultry litter (subsequent winter weeds)] in Tennessee. No-tillage corn (Zea mays L.), soybean [(Glycine max (L.) Merr.], and cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) yields were collected from 2002 to 2017 at Milan and Spring Hill, Tennessee. Cotton was included at Milan but not at Spring Hill. Main plots were 12 cropping sequences for Milan and 8 cropping sequences for Spring Hill. Each sequence was repeated in 4-year cycles (Phase I, II, III, and IV). Five bio-cover treatments (poultry litter, winter wheat, Austrian winter pea, and hairy vetch) and a fallow control were applied as strip-plots. Net returns (NR, crop price times crop yield minus costs of production) were estimated for each cropping system. Analyses determined NR differences for each cropping system at each location. Net present value (NPV, or the sum of cropping system NR adjusted for the time value of money over 16-years), was used to determine cumulative profitability. Cropping sequence influenced NR for soybean and cotton at Milan (P<0.05). Higher yields for soybean and cotton grown in rotation with another crop was the primary factor influencing NR. Cover crops impacted (P<0.05) NR, with no cover providing the highest NR. Continuous cotton and corn-corn-soybean-cotton produced without a bio-cover returned the greatest NPVs at Milan. NRs at Spring Hill were influenced by cropping sequence and bio-cover for corn and soybean (P<0.05). Corn-soybean and the corn-corn-soybean-corn rotation produced the greatest NPVs at Spring Hill. Insufficient yield benefits and/or fertilizer savings with bio-covers did not offset their costs, indicating monetary incentives may be needed for famers to adopt bio-covers.