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Demographic and Management Factors Affecting the Perceived Benefit of Winter Cover Crops in the Southeast

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Author Info

  • Bergtold, Jason S.
  • Duffy, Patricia A.
  • Hite, Diane
  • Raper, Randy L.

Abstract

The inclusion of cover crops in cropping systems brings both direct and indirect costs and benefits. Farmers will adopt and continue to utilize cover crops in their production systems as long as the perceived benefit of using cover crops (e.g. increased yield, higher profits, and improved soil productivity) is positive. The perceived benefits, while partially based on actual changes, may be influenced by demographic, economic and management factors. The purpose of this paper is to examine the demographic and management factors affecting the perceived benefit, in terms of improved crop yield, of using winter annual cover crops. A tobit model is estimated using survey data of Alabama farmers examining cover crop use and management. The model examines the potential effect of different agronomic, demographic and management factors on the perceived yield gain from using winter cover crops of Alabama row crop producers. Estimation results indicated that growing peanuts, growing soybeans, high debt, high gross farm sales, use of conservation tillage, increased application of N to the cash crop after a legume cover crop, and applying N to the cover crop had a positive and statistically significant impact on farmers’ perceived yield gain from using a cover crop. In contrast, number of years farming, farm size, and high cover crop costs had a negative and statistically significant impact on farmers’ perceived yield gain from using a cover crop. Understanding the perceived benefits of using winter cover crops and the factors that shape these perceptions can provide insight into the decision making process farmers make in deciding to adopt and/or retain the use of cover crops on their farm.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) in its series 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida with number 6424.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea08:6424

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Keywords: Cover Crops; Conservation; Adoption Process; Tobit Model; Value of Information; Farmer; Crop Production/Industries;

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  1. Allen M. Featherstone & Barry K. Goodwin, 1993. "Factors Influencing a Farmer's Decision to Invest in Long-Term Conservation Improvements," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 69(1), pages 67-81.
  2. Brian W. Gould & William E. Saupe & Richard M. Klemme, 1989. "Conservation Tillage: The Role of Farm and Operator Characteristics and the Perception of Soil Erosion," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 65(2), pages 167-185.
  3. Lichtenberg, Erik, 2004. "Cost-Responsiveness of Conservation Practice Adoption: A Revealed Preference Approach," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 29(03), December.
  4. Soule, Meredith J., 2001. "Soil Management And The Farm Typology: Do Small Family Farms Manage Soil And Nutrient Resources Differently Than Large Family Farms?," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 30(2), October.
  5. Jaenicke, Edward C. & Frechette, Darren L. & Larson, James A., 2003. "Estimating Production Risk and Inefficiency Simultaneously: An Application to Cotton Cropping Systems," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 28(03), December.
  6. Abadi Ghadim, Amir K. & Pannell, David J., 1999. "A conceptual framework of adoption of an agricultural innovation," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 21(2), pages 145-154, October.
  7. Meredith J. Soule & Abebayehu Tegene & Keith D. Wiebe, 2000. "Land Tenure and the Adoption of Conservation Practices," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(4), pages 993-1005.
  8. Luzar, E. Jane & Diagne, Assane, 1999. "Participation in the next generation of agriculture conservation programs: the role of environmental attitudes," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 335-349.
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