Economics of tillage management systems in northeastern Alberta
The economic returns and riskiness of continuous barley production using four tillage management systems were compared at five sites in three soil zones in northeastern Alberta. The study used five years of data from a tillage experiment in northeastern Alberta. The four tillage systems included conventional one (C1), which leaves 5% standing stubble, conventional two (C2), which leaves 50% standing stubble, minimum-tillage (Min), and zero-tillage (ZT). Economic calculations were based on 1992 input costs and product prices. The systems were evaluated at barley prices of $46, $69, and $92 t-1, calculated with and without all risk crop insurance. Over the five sites the expected net returns were generally higher for ZT at all barley prices. Income variability was usually lower for ZT and C2 depending on the site. The study concluded that use of reduced tillage management systems by producers in northeastern Alberta could increase farm-level returns and reduce the risk of financial loss, while potentially decreasing the amount of soil erosion.
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