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Economic Comparison of the Undercutter and Traditional Tillage Systems for Winter Wheat-Summer Fallow Farming


  • Andrey A. Zaikin
  • Douglas L. Young
  • William F. Schillinger

    () (School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University)


Wind erosion and blowing dust are major problems for traditional tillage winter wheat-summer fallow in eastern Washington. Wind erosion reduces soil productivity and dust particulates are a major air quality concern. Conservation tillage summer fallow can reduce wind erosion markedly, but is used by relatively few farmers in the low-precipitation (less than 12 inch/year) region of the Inland Pacific Northwest. Barriers to adoption include the cost of conservation tillage implements and reluctance to change "tried and proven"traditional tillage methods. This bulletin compares economic results for the V-sweep undercutter and traditional fallow tillage systems on a case study farm located near Ritzville, WA. The farm’s eight-year average wheat yield is 46 bu/ac. Grain yields are similar for the two systems. This study shows that the undercutter method of summer fallow farming is more profitable than the traditional system on the case study farm due to slightly lower production costs. The undercutter system is eligible for conservation payments, but the traditional system is not. Receipt of these payments further strengthens the profitability advantage of the undercutter system

Suggested Citation

  • Andrey A. Zaikin & Douglas L. Young & William F. Schillinger, 2007. "Economic Comparison of the Undercutter and Traditional Tillage Systems for Winter Wheat-Summer Fallow Farming," Working Papers 2007-15, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:wsu:wpaper:young-1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David J. Walker & Douglas L. You, 1986. "The Effect of Technical Progress on Erosion Damage and Economic Incentives for Soil Conservation," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 62(1), pages 83-93.
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    capital; labor; land and management resources; type and size of machinery complement;

    JEL classification:

    • J43 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Agricultural Labor Markets

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