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conventional farming systems, crop rotations


A small body of evidence has begun to emerge over the last 3 to 4 years on the comparative productivity and profitability of conventional farming systems and alternative systems which (1) avoid or use very small amounts of synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and (2) place greater emphasis on crop rotations, especially rotations which involve forage and green manure legumes. Most of the evidence thus far has been based on only a few years of data, however. In contrast, South Dakota State university (SDSU) has recently completed three relatively long-term studies comparing conventional and alternative systems. Two of the studies were conducted at SDSU's Northeast Research station, north of Watertown, S.D. in Codington County. Conventional, reduced tillage, and alternative farming systems were compared there, over the period 1985-92 in one study and over 1985-93 in the other study. Results of those studies appear in Dobbs (1994a), Dobbs, et ale (1994), Smolik and others (1994), Smolik, et ale (1993; and forthcoming), and Smolik and Dobbs (1991).


Economics Research Report No. 94-5