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ARS Home » Plains Area » Temple, Texas » Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #395086

Research Project: Contributions of Climate, Soils, Species Diversity, and Management to Sustainable Crop, Grassland, and Livestock Production Systems

Location: Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory

Title: Mapping within-field yield stability and gross margin variations for precision conservation decisions

item Adhikari, Kabindra
item Smith, Douglas
item Hajda, Chad
item Kharel, Tulsi

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/31/2022
Publication Date: 8/31/2022
Citation: Adhikari, K., Smith, D.R., Hajda, C.B., Kharel, T.P. 2022. Mapping within-field yield stability and gross margin variations for precision conservation decisions. [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting. Paper No. 141510.

Interpretive Summary: Yield stability and gross margin maps can help farmers to implement precision conservation plans in their field. We used 3-yr corn yield data from nine fields in Texas Blackland soils and mapped yield, and yield stability across the fields. We then generated gross margin maps using farm economic data. Based on the information, the fields were divided into profitable and non-profitable zones, and we recommended a precision conservation plan for overall cost minimization.

Technical Abstract: Soil spatial variation is one of the major causes of within-field yield variation across farms. Yield stability and gross margin maps based on yield and farm economics data could assist in formulating appropriate precision conservations plan with economic justification. The present study employed corn yield measurements farm economics data from 2018, 2019, 2020 to compile yield stability and gross margin maps for nine cornfields in Texas Blackland Prairie soils, and identified nonprofitable areas in each field that needed a special conservation treatment. We found that about 57% area in the investigated fields was classified as an unstable zone with higher or lower yields and, nearly 14% of the area constantly produced lower yields (zone D) in the past three years. The average gross margin from the fields ranged between -$693 to $775/ha, and almost all fields under stability zone A and B had positive margins, and zone C and D had negative margins. It was identified that stability zone D could be put out of production as it was constantly giving low yields which would save a total of $13,877 that was used to cover the cost. However, this plan could be effectively applied in three specific fields, namely Y-8, Y-6, and W-13 as the fields had a relatively large, consolidated area under zone D that would make it easier for implementation. We believe that this methodology could be extended to other parts of the nation for conservation benefits including economic return.