David W. Archer1, Mark A. Liebig1 and Donald Tanaka2, (1)PO Box 459, USDA-ARS, Mandan, ND (2)USDA-ARS, Mandan, ND
Increasing crop diversity has been identified as a method to improve agronomic performance of cropping systems and increase provision of ecosystem services. However, there is a need to understand the economic performance of more diverse cropping systems. Crop productivity and economic net returns were evaluated for different levels of crop diversity in a long-term, field-scale, no-till cropping system study conducted at the Area IV Soil Conservation Districts Research Farm in south-central North Dakota. Cropping system treatments included small grain-fallow (SG-F), a three year fixed rotation (3yr), a five-year fixed rotation (5yr), and a dynamic rotation (Dynamic). Spring wheat yields increased with increasing crop diversity, and spring wheat produced higher average net returns when grown in more diverse rotations. Rotation average net returns were also higher in more diverse crop rotations. Variation of net returns, a measure of economic risk, also tended to increase with increasing crop diversity. However, the dynamic system had higher returns and lower risk than the 3yr and 5yr systems.