Economics of Special Crops in Diversified Crop Rotations in the Semi-Arid Canadian Prairies

Citation

https://agbio.usask.ca/soilsncrops/

Plain language summary

The agronomic and economic performance of different crop rotations is an important step in identifying productive, sustainable and profitable rotations. Two five-year (2018-2022) field studies, hereafter referred to as experiments 1 and 2, were conducted in the semi-arid Canadian prairies to evaluate the economic outcomes of multiple crop rotations with different crop management philosophies containing different pulse, oilseed and specialty crops. The study was conducted at Swift Current and Scott in Saskatchewan, and Lethbridge and Brooks in Alberta, and was arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replicates at each site. Experiments 1 and 2 consisted of 14 and 5 different rotations, respectively. Net revenue (NR)—the response variable to gauge and compare the effectiveness of each rotation—was defined as total revenue minus total costs. Using the experimental data, we identified key rotations that seemed to outperform others. The most profitable rotations contained pulse crops and one or two specialty crops in rotation. We recommend farmers consider multiple species of crops in their cropping systems, especially pulses and specialty crops, to gain economic benefits and achieve long-term sustainability.

Abstract

The agronomic and economic performance of different crop rotations is an important step in identifying productive, sustainable and profitable rotations. Two five-year (2018-2022) field studies, hereafter referred to as experiments 1 and 2, were conducted in the semi-arid Canadian prairies to evaluate the economic outcomes of multiple crop rotations with different crop management philosophies containing different pulse, oilseed and specialty crops. The study was conducted at Swift Current and Scott in Saskatchewan, and Lethbridge and Brooks in Alberta, and was arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replicates at each site. Experiments 1 and 2 consisted of 14 and 5 different rotations, respectively. Net revenue (NR)—the response variable to gauge and compare the effectiveness of each rotation—was defined as total revenue minus total costs. Using the experimental data, we identified key rotations that seemed to outperform others. The most profitable rotations contained pulse crops and one or two specialty crops in rotation. We recommend farmers consider multiple species of crops in their cropping systems, especially pulses and specialty crops, to gain economic benefits and achieve long-term sustainability.