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Nitrogen abatement cost comparison for cropping systems under alternative management choices

Listed author(s):
  • Amon-Armah, Frederick
  • Yiridoe, Emmanuel K.
  • Hebb, Dale
  • Jamieson, Rob

There is a need for cost-effective methods to reduce nitrogen pollution from agriculture. Marginal abatement cost (MAC) curves for nitrate-nitrogen pollution in an agricultural watershed are evaluated using estimated crop yield and nitrate pollution production functions for alternative cropping systems. The cropping systems considered in this study included i) two grain corn-based cropping systems; ii) two potato-based cropping systems; and iii) a vegetable-horticulture system, managed under conventional tillage (CT) and no-till (NT). The cost-effective potato-based cropping system which met the Health Canada maximum contaminant limit (MCL) for nitrate-N, with the highest gross margin ($6973 ha-1) and lowest abatement cost ($395 ha-1) was a potato-barley-winter wheat-potato-corn rotation under no-till (PBWPC-NT). Similarly, among the vegetable-horticulture cropping systems, potato-winter wheat-carrot-corn rotation under CT (PWRC-CT) generated the highest gross margin and lowest on-farm abatement cost ($680 ha-1). As the Health Canada allowable limit on nitrate-N pollution was relaxed (i.e., less stringent), the cost-effective corn-based cropping system shifted from a rotation involving corn-corn-alfalfa-alfalfa-alfalfa under CT to corn-corn-corn-alfalfa-alfalfa under NT.

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Paper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. with number 149915.

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Date of creation: 30 May 2013
Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea13:149915
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  1. Swinton, Scott M. & Clark, David S., 1994. "Farm-Level Evaluation Of Alternative Policy Approaches To Reduce Nitrate Leaching From Midwest Agriculture," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 23(1), April.
  2. Yiridoe, Emmanuel K. & Weersink, Alfons, 1998. "Marginal Abatement Costs Of Reducing Groundwater-N Pollution With Intensive And Extensive Farm Management Choices," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 27(2), October.
  3. Stoorvogel, J. J. & Antle, J. M. & Crissman, C. C. & Bowen, W., 2004. "The tradeoff analysis model: integrated bio-physical and economic modeling of agricultural production systems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 43-66, April.
  4. Bonham, John G. & Bosch, Darrell J. & Pease, James W., 2006. "Cost-Effectiveness of Nutrient Management and Buffers: Comparisons of Two Spatial Scenarios," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 38(01), April.
  5. McKitrick, Ross, 1999. "A Derivation of the Marginal Abatement Cost Curve," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 306-314, May.
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