Economics of Alternative Crop Production in Arid Regions
As water resources in arid regions decline, agricultural producers are encouraged to adopt water conserving strategies. The implementation of alternative low-water use crops is one option, but is it economically feasible? Data on current and alternative crops for this study include enterprise budgets, producer interviews, and field trials in Northwestern Nevada, USA. We use WinEPIC, a Windows-based version of the EPIC model, which synthesizes both agronomics and economics, to model yields and returns of alternative crop production under differing irrigation levels. Risk analysis or the distribution of net returns to alternative crop production is also examined. This study determined that there are alternative crops that could be feasibly substituted for alfalfa and reduce water use by at least one-half while providing net returns that meet or exceed returns from alfalfa and keep producers profitable in agriculture
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