Economics of Irrigated Continuous Corn under Conventional-Till and No-Till in Northern Colorado
- David W. Archer *a,
- Ardell D. Halvorsonb and
- Curtis A. Reuleb
- a USDA-ARS, Northern Great Plains Research Lab., P.O. Box 459, 1701 10th Avenue SW, Mandan, ND 58554
b USDA-ARS, Soil Plant Nutrient Research Unit, 2150 Centre Avenue, Building D, Suite 100, Fort Collins, CO 80526. The use of trade, firm, or corporation names is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by the USDA or the Agricultural Research Service of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable
Conversion of irrigated cropland from conventional tillage (CT) to no-till (NT) could have several environmental benefits including reduced erosion potential, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and conservation of water. However NT must be economically viable if it is to be adopted. Costs of production and economic returns were evaluated for an irrigated, continuous corn (Zea mays L.) system under CT and NT over 6 yr on a clay loam soil in northern Colorado. Yield responses to N fertilization were included to determine economic optimum fertilization rates under each tillage system. Corn grain yields at economic optimum N fertilizer rates were 1.1 to 1.4 Mg ha−1 lower for NT than for CT. However, net returns were $46 to 74 ha−1 higher for NT than for CT due to reductions in operating costs of $57 to 114 ha−1 and reductions in machinery ownership costs of $87 to 90 ha−1 Operating cost savings were realized largely due to fuel and labor reductions of 75% and 71 to 72%, respectively, and in spite of higher N fertilizer requirements of 16 to 55 kg ha−1 for NT compared to CT. No-till, irrigated, continuous corn appears to be an economically viable option for replacing CT production systems in the central Great Plains, especially when combined with the environmental benefits of the NT system.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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