A Comparison of Risk Between Continuous and Fallow Cropping Regimes

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  • The focus of this study is to examine the risk and return trade-offs for various crop rotations and tillage systems. The geographic area represented in this study will be that contained within four soil, and five climatic zones within the Province of Alberta. The predominant crops grown in these areas (i.e. spring wheat, barley, and canola) were used to derive cost estimates that reflect agronomic processes. The results obtained from each of the areas indicate that several generalizations can be made about the interactions of crop rotations, tillage system and farm size. Firstly, the size of predicted net revenue increases and the probability of generating a negative net revenue decreases as one moves north from the Brown soil zone into the Dark Brown and Black soils. Secondly, as one moves from the Brown soil zone through to the Black soil zone, less significance can be placed on fallow crop rotations. Lastly, at the current price of the fallow herbicides, conventional tillage systems have a cost advantage over the alternatives tested here.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 International