Double-cropping provides a method of diversifying the rotation, maximizing production, and increasing the profit potential of a cropping system. We assessed agronomic and economic performance of five alternative crops in comparison to the no-till wheat-soybean double-cropping system prevalent in the southern Corn Belt. Canola has shown potential as a profitable winter crop, but its effects on the subsequent crop in a no-till double-crop system required further study. Amaranth, buckwheat, sunflower, and pearl millet were planted after the harvest of canola or wheat, or after fallow. Alternative double-crop grain yield, production costs, and net returns were compared with those of double-crop soybean.
Wheat yielded more than canola. Sunflower grain yields did not differ significantly after winter-crop treatments at any site. Yields of amaranth, buckwheat, soybean, and pearl millet differed after winter crops at some sites. At three study yield levels, net returns were positive and greatest for double-crop wheat-amaranth, canola-amaranth, wheat-sunflower, and canola-sunflower systems. All double-crop systems except canolapearl millet had positive net returns at median study yield levels. Low or negative net returns resulted from the combination of low yield and low price for some double crops. Canola was shown to be an economically feasible alternative to wheat in a doublecropping system for central and southern Missouri. Buckwheat and sunflower were shown to be agronomically and economically competitive alternatives to soybean following either canola or winter wheat, with buckwheat most valuable in late-season planting conditions.