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An economic analysis of alternative cropping systems for east-central Nebraska

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 November 2009

Glenn A. Helmers
Professor of Agricultural Economics
Michael R. Langemeier
Research Technologist, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Joseph Atwood
Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics, Auburn University.
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Thirteen cropping systems were analyzed with respect to profitability and risk for east-central Nebraska. The systems were developed from 1) a four-year rotation containing a small grain, 2) two row crop rotations, 3) three continuous cropped alternatives, and 4) combinations of continuous cropped alternatives. Three systems were developed from the four-year rotation including two alternative treatments of inorganic chemicals as well as an organic alternative. Eight years of experimental yields, historical prices, and estimated costs were combined to estimate net returns for each of the thirteen systems. Risk was analyzed as net return variability using statistical characteristics of the net return series. The stability component of rotation risk was separated from the diversification component. We found rotations to have higher average net returns than continuously cropped systems. Different chemical treatments (including organic) had little impact on profitability. Rotations had lower return variability than most continuous crops. The organic treatment did not decrease variability of returns compared to other chemical systems.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1986

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