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Agronomy Journal Abstract - PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE

Economic Analysis of Conservation and Conventional Tillage Cropping Systems on Clayey Soil in Eastern Arkansas


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 93 No. 6, p. 1296-1304

    * Corresponding author(s): lparsch@uark.edu
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  1. Lucas D. Parsch *a,
  2. Terry C. Keislingb,
  3. Patricia A. Sauera,
  4. Lawrence R. Olivera and
  5. Nathan S. Crabtreea
  1. a Dep. of Crops, Soil, and Environ. Sci., 115 Plant Sci. Bldg., Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701
    b Dep. of Crops, Soil, and Environ. Sci., Univ. of Arkansas, Northeast Res. and Ext. Cent., P.O. Box 48, Keiser, AR 72351


Conservation tillage offers an alternative approach for managing clayey soils in the midsouthern United States. This study compared conservation tillage seedbed preparation vs. conventional tillage main plots with subplots of (i) nonirrigated soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.), (ii) irrigated soybean, (iii) irrigated grain sorghum (Sorghum vulgare L.), (iv) irrigated soybean followed by irrigated grain sorghum, (v) irrigated soybean followed by irrigated corn (Zea mays L.), and (vi) continuous irrigated cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) for the years 1986 to 1991 at Keiser, AR. Cropping practices were similar to those used by producers in the area. Grain sorghum yielded better in a soybean rotation than in monoculture and also in conventionally tilled seedbed than in conservation tillage. For other crops, yield did not differ significantly by tillage. Except for cotton, conventional tillage resulted in higher average net returns (NR) than conservation tillage. Although the most profitable system was continuous cotton with conservation tillage, NR varied widely across years, and there were fewer observations for cotton than for other systems in the study. Among conventional tillage seedbed preparation, nonirrigated continuous soybean was more profitable than any of the irrigated systems, including irrigated soybean. However, irrigated soybean resulted in NR that were less variable than nonirrigated soybean. The study confirmed the increased variable costs and decreased equipment costs that accompany conservation tillage systems. Even with the dramatic changes in burndown herbicide costs that have occurred since the study was conducted, the rankings of the cropping systems for profitability would not change.

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Copyright © 2001. American Society of AgronomyPublished in Agron. J.93:1296–1304.