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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 96 No. 1, p. 148-153
    Received: Oct 29, 2002

    * Corresponding author(s): ardell.halvorson@ars.usda.gov
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Economics of Annual Cropping versus Crop–Fallow in The Northern Great Plains as Influenced by Tillage and Nitrogen

  1. Eric A. DeVuysta and
  2. Ardell D. Halvorson *b
  1. a Dep. Agribusiness and Appl. Econ., North Dakota State Univ., P.O. Box 5636, Fargo, ND 58105-5636
    b USDA-ARS, 2150 Centre Ave., Bldg. D, Suite 100, Fort Collins, CO 80526


Annualized yields with more intensive cropping (IC) systems tend to be greater than those of spring wheat–fallow (SW–F); however, little economic comparison information is available. The long-term (12 yr) effects of tillage system and N fertilization on the economic returns from two dryland cropping systems in North Dakota were evaluated. An IC rotation [spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)–winter wheat (T. aestivum L.)–sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.)] and a SW–F rotation were studied. Tillage systems included conventional till (CT), minimum till (MT), and no-till (NT). Nitrogen rates were 34, 67, and 101 kg N ha−1 for the IC system and 0, 22, and 45 kg N ha−1 for the SW–F system. Annual precipitation ranged from 206 to 655 mm, averaging 422 mm over 12 yr. The IC system generated higher profits than the SW–F system, but the IC profits were more variable. Within the IC system, MT generated higher profits than corresponding N treatments under CT and NT, but MT profits were more variable. Of the N rates evaluated, the largest N rates generated the largest profits. The dryland IC system with MT and NT was more profitable than the best SW–F system using CT for this location. Stochastic dominance analyses revealed that the SW–F system and IC system CT treatments were economically inefficient when compared with the IC system with MT and NT.

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