Research Bulletin (Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station)


Soil erosion is a major agricultural problem in western Iowa. While farmers in the area generally are aware of the erosion problem, relatively few use farm plans which result in the level of conservation needed to stabilize soil loss. Previous studies indicate that economic considerations, particularly, retard adoption of soil-conserving systems of farming. One problem evidently is that insufficient attention has been devoted to determining erosion-control programs for farmers with different amounts of capital, labor and other resources.

The purpose of this study is to determine profitable erosion-control systems of farming for operators with different amounts of capital and for two different sizes of farms. Emphasis is on profit maximization for the farm as a whole. Since Ida-Monona soils respond readily to fertilization, the plans considered allow an integration of investment in crops, fertilizer and livestock. Specifically, the study is designed to determine the optimum combination of crop rotations, fertilization levels, erosion-control practices and livestock systems. Conservation systems which primarily control erosion either through land cover or mechanical practices are compared by the linear programming technique.



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