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sustainable agriculture, crop yields, alternative farm, crop rotation


South Dakota State University (SDSU) has been conducting a set of experiment station trials since 1985 in which particular low-input (alternative) farming systems are compared with conventional and reduced tillage systems. The trials are conducted at SDSU's Northeast (NE) Research Station near Watertown. The first 4 years of yield and economic results were reported in a 95-page document by Mends, et al. (1989) several months ago. In this present report, economic results for 1989 are presented and are compared with those in the previous report. Two studies are included in these trials at the NE Station, to represent different sets of crop combinations and rotations. Farming Systems Study I (FSSl) emphasizes row crops and includes Alternative, Conventional, and Ridge Till rotations. The crop combination and rotation for the Alternative system is oats/alfalfa-alfalfa-soybeans-corn. Commercial fertilizers and pesticides are not used in this system, nor is the moldboard plow used. Weeds are controlled primarily by mechanical cultivation, crop rotation effects, and some hand weeding of soybeans. The oats are harvested for grain and also serve as a nurse crop for alfalfa. The alfalfa is harvested for hay the year following seeding; the next year, the field is rotated to soybeans. The year after that, corn is planted. Corn, soybeans, and spring wheat, in that sequence, are included in both the Conventional and the Ridge Till systems. Commercial fertilizer and herbicides are used in both of these systems; products used and application rates are based on current SDSU Plant Science Department recommendations.


Economics Research Report 90-1