A LONG-TERM ECONOMIC COMPARISON BETWEEN ORGANIC AND CONVENTIONAL CROPPING ROTATIONS
The results of previous studies generally show that organic production is more profitable than conventional production. However, as a source of these results, the trials are either of short duration or do not specifically examine the benefits during the transition period, suggesting that previous work may not have captured the full variability of crop net returns. The purpose of this study was to compare the net returns and risks of conventional, transition, and organic cropping systems using long-term crop budgets and stochastic simulations. Conventional crop rotations were represented by a corn / soybean rotation and a corn / soybean / wheat rotation. The organic crop rotation produced corn, soybean and wheat. Historical prices, crop budgets, and FINBIN data are used to develop the long-term crop budgets. The organic crop rotation included a three-year transition period. Ten-year enterprise budgets were created for each crop and rotation so that we could compare the net returns of the transition year of organic crop rotation and the year of organic production. This thesis summarizes the enterprise budget information for each crop in the conventional and organic cropping systems, and summarizes the information used for the simulation analysis. Using @ risk, differences in annual net returns to land between crop rotations were summarized. Results are as follows. First, the transition and organic cropping system was found to have higher net returns to land than the two conventional crop rotations under most of the simulation iterations. Second, the annual net returns during the transition period were relatively low. Third, the highest average annual net return was for organic corn.