9301 The Economic Foundation for Tillage System Selection

Wednesday, January 7, 2009: 2:20 PM
Salon G (Marriott Rivercenter Hotel)
Jason L. Johnson, Texas AgriLife Extension, Stephenville, TX and M.W. Polk, Texas AgriLife Extension, San Angelo, TX
The purpose of this study is to identify the economic differences between tillage systems in two diverse cotton producing regions: the Southern Rolling Plains (SRP) of Texas and the Delta region of Mississippi.  In both the SRP of Texas and the Delta Region of Mississippi, reduced and no-till cotton production systems demonstrate some superior cost management capabilities versus a conventional tillage system.  This research indicates that the magnitude of the economic differences among cotton tillage systems is regionally specific, but much of the economic benefit of adopting a conservation tillage system is embedded in an improved fixed cost structure (i.e. reduced depreciation).  These impacts do not immediately affect cash expenses and are sometimes difficult to observe.  This may help to explain why widespread adoption of conservation tillage technologies has not been more rapidly embraced. This paper provides a preliminary basis to enable growers to evaluate the trade-offs between cash expenses, equipment requirements, labor requirements and overall profitability that can be expected from their choice of a cotton tillage system.