Essays on the Profitability of Winter Farming Enterprises
Type of Degreedissertation
Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology
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Cover crops can boost soil productivity as they increase soil organic carbon levels, improve water infiltration and reduce soil erosion. In addition to the agronomic and environmental benefits, they can also provide additional revenue-generating opportunities for farmers such as winter annual grazing or selling of cover crop residues as a biofuel feedstock. The objectives of this dissertation are to study various factors affecting these revenue generating opportunities. The market for biofuel feedstock is not fully developed. Chapter 1 studies farmers’ willingness to adopt this practice and develops an estimate of the price at which they are willing to sell the cover crop residues. Chapter 2 focuses on the agronomic and environmental aspects of biomass removal and the profitability of selling crop residues as a biofuel feedstock. Chapter 3 looks at winter annual grazing as an alternative revenue generating option provided by cover crops. It compares the risks and returns for a cattle owner who has the option of placing the cattle in a pasture before sending them to feedlot or to skip the pasture and send the cattle directly to the feedlot.