Tables 1 to 3 summarizes the difference in total farm income between the two tillage methods and three cropping systems. The no till continuous cropping system with four alternative crops (Table 1) had total net farm income of $189,104. The second no till cropping system (Table 2) that included chemical fallow, had total net farm income of $66,385 (Spring Wheat re-crop, Spring Wheat/Peas/Flax/Chemical-Fallow rotation). The no till continuous cropping system had more than twice as much total farm income as compared to the cropping system that included chemical fallow. This difference in total farm income occurred because income generated from lentils and sunflowers was offset by income from more acres of spring wheat and the cost of chemical fallow.
The spring wheat-fallow rotation (Table 3) had total net farm income of $46,950. This income was four times less than the no till continuous cropping system. This difference was due to the large number of fallow acres and the lack of income from alternative crops such as lentils, sunflowers, or flax.
The cost of chemical fallow versus tilled fallow was similar. Three producers had both chemical fallow and till fallow acres. One producer had a minimum till fallow system which included one spray operation followed by two or three tillage operations.
This report shows the value of alternative crops in a crop rotation. Availability of markets for the alternative crops as well as distances to transport the crop can be problematic. The amount of the Loan Deficiency Payment (LDP) also impacts the total income received for the crop. The variation in seeding rates and different chemicals required for the alternative crops requires a higher level of management. The seeding and spraying equipment must also be capable of easily changing the application rate and applying the rate accurately.