Economic evaluation of an integrated cropping system with cotton
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Cotton is the primary crop in the Southern High Plains of Texas. Increased irrigation of cotton has reduced the Ogallala aquifer water supplies. The reduced levels of the aquifer have led to an increased cost of producing cotton as depth of pumping increases over time, causing farmers to look for alternative crop production systems that reduce water demands from the Ogallala aquifer. The objectives of this research were to investigate the profitability and risk of an integrated system with crops and livestock compared to monoculture cotton production and to evaluate the environmental effects of the two systems. The economic performance of each system (monoculture cotton vs. integrated crop-livestock system) was evaluated using biophysical crop growth model to simulate yields for 20 years. A sensitivity analysis for 9 price levels (high, average, and low at 10%, 30%, and 50% price variability) was used for cotton, cattle, and grass seed production to evaluate the sensitivity of the two systems to price changes. Stochastic dominance with respect to a function (SDRF) was used to compare the risk efficiency of the integrated and monoculture systems. Crop production and environmental effects were modeled using WinEPIC Version 3.0.