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Title: ECONOMICS OF WIDE-BED FARMING SYSTEMS FOR VERTISOL (CLAY) SOILS: CHISEL TILLAGE VS. NO-TILLAGE

Author
item HARMAN, WYATTE
item DAVIS, ROB
item Morrison Jr, John
item Potter, Kenneth

Submitted to: Journal of American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/27/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Technology is constantly being updated for conservation cropping of wheat, grain sorghum, and corn. The costs of purchased supplies for crop production also change with time. We conducted an economic analysis of experimental conservation systems to reflect the changing technologies and costs. It concluded that by using higher labor and machinery prices and lower grass herbicide prices since the last analysis in the 1980's, that experimental no-tillage systems are currently more cost efficient than conventional chisel tillage. In contrast to earlier cost estimates, variable costs are now reduced by using the no-tillage wide-bed system described in the paper, and no-tillage continues to lower machinery depreciation costs. Such lower costs will make the conversion to conservation tillage cropping systems more attractive to farmers.

Technical Abstract: Price relationships of production inputs, particularly those of herbicides, farm wages, and machinery, have shifted over the past decade, favoring less tillage. An economic analysis comparing chisel tillage and no-tillage of a wide-bed, controlled traffic 3-year rotation on vertisol (clay) soils indicates no-till is least costly, reducing total variable (out-of-pocket) cost $49/ac. Variable cost is reduced with no-tillage for each crop of the sorghum/corn/wheat rotation. This is in contrast to the late-1980s when no-till raised variable costs over chisel tillage for corn and sorghum. Likewise, machinery depreciation cost is reduced for each crop, totaling $27/ac for the 3-crop rotation. The sum of the 3- year cost reduction is $76/ac when using a no-till wide-bed farming system in lieu of a chisel tillage system.