For eastern washington grain growers



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WEED MANAGEMENT AND LANDLORD/TENANT RELATIONSHIPS

FOR EASTERN WASHINGTON GRAIN GROWERS

By

Cory Gene Walters



A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of

the requirements for the degree of


MASTER OF ARTS IN AGRICULTUAL ECONOMICS

WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY

Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
DECEMBER 2003

To the faculty of Washington State University:

The members of the Committee appointed to examine the thesis of Cory Gene Walters find it satisfactory and recommend that it be accepted.
________________________________

Chair


________________________________

________________________________

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Many people have contributed their time and knowledge to this research. I extend my gratitude to each and every one of them. A special thanks goes to Dr. Doug Young chairman of my committee. His excellent assistance throughout every aspect of research has been priceless. I would also like to thank Dr. Frank Young for his data and assistance throughout my thesis. I thank Dr. Herb Hinman for his expertise on enterprise budgets and tips on using the Farm Enterprise Budget Simulator (FEBS). Thanks are extended to the Jointed Goatgrass Control and USDA-STEEP projects for their funding of my research.

WEED MANAGEMENT AND LANDLORD/TENANT RELATIONSHIPS

FOR EASTERN WASHINGTON GRAIN GROWERS

Abstract

By Cory Gene Walters, M.A.

Washington State University

December 2003

Chair: Douglas L. Young


Winter Wheat (Triticum aestivum v.) has long been the leading cash crop in eastern Washington. Jointed Goatgrass (JGG) (Aegilops cylindrica) is a winter annual grass weed similar in seed size and density to winter wheat that costs producers in both crop yield suppression and price discounts. There are also environmental concerns about past JGG control practices because some utilized field burning. The objective of the JGG study was to evaluate the economics of three different rotations--(1) soft white winter wheat (SWWW)/fallow, (2) soft white spring wheat (SWSW)/fallow/SWWW/fallow, (3) spring barley (SB)/fallow/SWWW--in combination with burn or no-burn of SWWW stubble and with integrated or conventional planting and fertilizing practices. The objective of this study was to identify the most profitable treatment(s) that also reduced JGG populations. Results showed that the four-year SWSW/fallow/SWWW/fallow rotation, no-burn, with conventional seeding and fertilizing was economically preferred. It returned $23.96/Acre with a .42% JGG contamination. The three-year SB/fallow/SWWW rotation, burn, conventional seeding and fertilizing yielded very similar results economically. It returned $23.77/Acre with .33% JGG contamination. The traditional SWWW/fallow rotation performed poorly, both economically and agronomically. This shows the importance of longer rotations that incorporate spring crops for economically effective JGG control. On a related environmental issue, it has been shown that changes to conservation tillage and intensive spring crop rotations can require changes in farm leases. This is important in Washington, since the 1997 Census showed that 44.9% of all farmland in the state was leased (USDA). The objectives of a second study based on a 2003 survey were to 1) statistically explain which farm or farmer characteristics explain tenants’ perceptions of whether landlords are supportive of no-till or intensive spring cropping and 2) describe landlords’ attitudes towards tenants switching to no-till or intensive spring cropping on their land. Size of farm, percentage of farm in wheat, and a cash lease were identified by logit regression analysis to be the three most significant variables influencing farmers perceptions about landlords’ disposition toward no-till. The first two variables were correlated negatively while the last correlated positively in regards to landlords favoring no-till. Overall, farmers appeared to be more pessimistic regarding landlords’ acceptance of no-till than did landlords themselves.




TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iii

ABSTRACT v

LIST OF TABLES viii

LIST OF FIGURES x

GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1

CHAPTER


  1. Economics of Integrated weed management practices for jointed goatgrass (agelops Cylindrica) in Winter Wheat (triticum aestivum v.) in the pacific Northwest 4


introduction 5

Methods and Materials 6

Experiment Description 6

Economic Analysis 12

Results and Discussion 15

Conclusions 20

Literature Cited 22

2 Landlord influence on more intensive ROTATIONS Or no-till adoption in eastern washington 24


Introduction 24

Data 26


Statistical Methods 29

Results: Producers 30

Results: Landlords 32

Conclusions 34

Literature Cited 36

LIST OF TABLES
Table Page

CHAPTER 1. Economics of integrated weed management practices for jointed goatgrass (agelops Cylindrica) in Winter Wheat (triticum aestivum v.) in the pacific Northwest


1 Description of Cropping Systems 8
2 Description of Tillage Treatments over all Three Rotations 9
3 Discounts Associated with JGG in Winter Wheat, 2002 13
4 Direct and Supplemental Payments 14
5 Annual Crop Yield by Rotation 16
6 Percent JGG Contamination in Harvested Grain 17


  1. Average Net Returns per Rotational Acre under SWWW/fallow,

SB/fallow/SWWW, and SWSW/fallow/SWWW/fallow Rotation 18

CHAPTER 2. Landlord influence on NO-TILL OR more intensive ROTATIONS adoption in eastern


1 Variables for Farmer Survey 27
2 Farm and Farmer Characteristics 28
3 Variable Coefficients and their Statistical Significance 31


  1. Comparison of Attribute Averages for Landlords Who Favor and

Disfavor No-till. 34
LIST OF FIGURES

Figures Page


CHAPTER 1. Economics of integrated weed management practices for jointed goatgrass (agelops Cylindrica) in Winter Wheat (triticum aestivum v.) in the pacific Northwest


  1. Net returns versus Jgg contamination 21



GENERAL INTRODUCTION

Both chapters in this thesis relate to identifying farming systems and business practices which promote environmental quality and economic feasibility in eastern Washington agriculture. The first relates to integrated weed management practices which may reduce the need for field burning and tillage fallow in wheat production. The second attempts to find factors associated with the acceptability of no-till farming among landlords. The first paper analyses the economics of twelve different integrated jointed goatgrass (JGG) management treatments combining three different rotations, burn or no-burn practices, and conventional and integrated fertilizing and seeding operations. The study was conducted from 1996 to 2001 two miles east of LaCrosse, WA, in a 14-inch annual rainfall zone. Soft White Winter Wheat (SWWW)/fallow has been the dominant crop rotation for 100 years. As a winter annual grass, JGG competes very well in winter wheat/fallow areas. Controlling JGG without switching rotation can be difficult. Uncontrolled JGG reduces economic returns due to price discounts for grain contamination and to yield suppression from weed competition.

Researchers hypothesized that by changing rotation from SWWW/fallow to more years between winter wheat, possibly deleting burning of stubble, and employing integrated seeding and fertilizing a producer could reduce JGG populations while still maintaining positive net returns from his/her farming operation. Indeed, results showed that the four-year SWSW/fallow/SWWW/fallow rotation, no-burn, with conventional seeding and fertilizing was economically preferred. This integrated system returned $23.96/Acre with .42% JGG contamination. The three-year SB/fallow/SWWW rotation, burn, conventional seeding and fertilizing returned $23.77/Acre with .33% JGG contamination, both integrated systems provide the highest net returns with low JGG contamination. The traditional SWWW/fallow rotation performed most poorly with only one treatment, burn-conventional, returning $9.29. This illustrates the need for longer rotations incorporating spring crops for economically effective JGG control.

The second paper statistically analyzes which farm or farmer characteristics explain tenants’ perceptions of whether landlords are supportive of no-till farming or more intensive spring cropping rotations. The second paper also provides a description of landlords’ attitudes towards no-till and intensive spring cropping. Conventional tillage causes erosion by both wind and water, reduces soil bulk density, and results in loss of soil water from evaporation.

Size of farm, percentage of farm in wheat, and having a cash lease were found by logit regression analysis to be the three most significant variables influencing farmers perceptions about landlords’ disposition toward no-till. The first two were negatively correlated with regarding landlords as favoring no-till and the last was positively correlated. Overall, farmers appeared to be more pessimistic regarding landlords’ acceptance of no-till than did landlords themselves.

Extension education programs could be assisted by having a better understanding of farm or farmer characteristics which contribute to farmers viewing landlords as supportive of more intensive rotations or no-till. By developing leasing strategies which permit both producers and landlords to make money with conservation tillage, both economic welfare and the environment will benefit.

This thesis is written in “manuscript format.” Part I is presented as an Extension Bulletin. With inclusion of more agronomic data and statistical analysis, weed scientists will expand Part I into a manuscript for Weed Technology. Part 2 has been prepared as a manuscript submission to the Review of Agricultural Economics. Within each paper, table numbers begin with one. Literature cited for each chapter is listed at the end of that chapter.

Part 1, “Economics of Integrated weed management practices for Jointed Goatgrass (Aegilops cylindrica) in Winter Wheat (Triticum aestivum v.) in the Pacific Northwest,” compares the economics of three cropping systems, burn or no-burn, and planting and fertilizing practices. It concentrates on the economic analysis in terms of net monetary returns for each system based on crop yield, grain dockage, and operation costs. The manuscript is written in a form to provide useful information to farmers and industry personnel.

Part 2, “Landlord Influence on More Intensive Rotations or No-till Adoption in Eastern Washington,” provides statistical interpretation of which farm or farmer characteristics are associated with tenants’ perceptions of whether landlords are supportive or not of no-till farming or more intensive rotations. It also describes landlords’ attitudes toward tenants switching to no-till or intensive spring cropping on their land.

Co-authors for parts one and two are Cory G. Walters and Douglas L. Young. Frank L. Young is also a co-author for part 1. Cory Walters was responsible for the economic and statistical analysis and for writing of the text. Douglas Young provided supervision in all areas of economic research. Frank Young created, supervised, and provided data for the JGG field experiment and edited both part 1 and 2. Herb Hinman provided editing comments on both parts.



CHAPTER 1
ECONOMICS OF INTEGRATED WEED MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FOR JOINTED GOATGRASS (Aegilops cylindrica) IN WINTER WHEAT (Triticum

aestivum v.) IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST


INTRODUCTION

Jointed Goatgrass (JGG) (Aegilops cylindrica) is an invasive winter annual grass weed that infests five million acres of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum v.) in the United States and is spreading at a rate of 50,000 acres per year (National JGG Research Program). JGG costs winter wheat producers in the western United States $145 million annually (Ogg, 1993). These decade-old damage estimates are the most recent available, but the exact extent of the problem today in 2003 is unknown. A review of JGG research was completed in 1991 (Donald and Ogg). Since then, research has focused on competitive wheat cultivars (Ogg and Seefeldt, 1999), increased seeding rate, increased seed size (Kappler et al., 2002), on time and method of fertilizing wheat to improve crop competitiveness (Mesbah and Miller, 1999), and herbicide/crop resistance (Ball et al., 1999). All of this research has focused on suppression of JGG populations. Economists and agronomists have provided benefit-cost evaluations and bioeconomic decision models for control of several other broadleaf and grass weeds (Swanton et al., 2002). Lybecker et al. (1991) showed weeds could be effectively managed in corn, gross margins increased, and herbicide use decreased by employing a bioeconomic weed-corn model to make weed management decisions. Kwon et al. (1998) developed a bioeconomic model for making profitable decisions for controlling grass and broadleaf weeds in winter wheat in the Washington-Idaho Palouse region. Jasieniuk et al. (1999) developed a biological model for JGG; however, there has been no empirically based research in the economics of JGG control. Weed science generally considers only economic comparisons consisting of herbicide cost vs. grain yield. The purpose of this study was to evaluate JGG densities, crop yield and net economic returns of control practices. This study was conducted to determine the most economically profitable control practice for JGG in winter wheat in an eastern Washington experiment.


MATERIALS AND METHODS

Experiment description

A 5-year study was conducted 2 miles east of LaCrosse, WA, in a 14-inch annual rainfall zone. Experiment I was initiated in 1997 and experiment II (repeat of experiment I) was initiated in 1998. Experiment one and two concluded in 2001 and 2002, respectively (Table 1). Plot size was 10’ by 60’ and treatments were replicated four times in each experiment. Soft white winter wheat (SWWW)/fallow is the dominant crop rotation of the region. The experiment was a randomized complete block design with a split-split block feature with 12 treatments. Main plot treatments were burn or no burn and subplots were winter wheat planting practices which compared the farmer’s standard planting practices to the integrated planting practices (National JGG Research Program). Sub-subplots were three crop rotations: SWWW/fallow, soft white spring wheat (SWSW)/fallow/SWWW/fallow, and spring barley (SB)/fallow/SWWW. Integrated practices included planting a competitive variety larger crop seed size, increased planting density, deep-banded fertilizer at time of planting, and starter fertilizer placed with the seed (table 2). Winter wheat varieties for the integrated system were, ‘Eltan’ in 1997, 1998, and 1999 and ‘Edwin’ in 2000. Conventional systems used ‘Rod’ and ‘Madson’ at a 50/50 mix in 1997, 1998, and 1999 and ‘Cashup’ in 2000. Each year, integrated and conventional SWWW was seeded on the same day. Integrated seeding density was approximately 1.5 times the conventional rate. In experiment I conventional and integrated planting was at 47 lbs/Acre and 65 lbs/Acre in 1998, 85 lbs/Acre and 90 lbs/Acre in 1999, and 66 lbs/Acre and 90 lbs/Acre in 2000, respectively (Table 2). Experiment II conventional and integrated planting rates were 85 lbs/Acre and 90 lbs/Acre in 1999, 66 lbs/Acre and 90 lbs/Acre in 2000, and 71 lbs/Acre and 110 lbs/Acre in 2001, respectively (Table 2). A John Deere 9400 hoe drill was used to sow crops, except for 1997 conventional SWWW when a double disk drill was used. Cost of the burn permit was four dollars per acre. Fifty percent of burn permit revenues is allotted for non-burn alternative research. Herbicides were applied at 10 gallons per acre with a CO2 backpack sprayer, with a 10-foot boom and 6501 nozzles. Spray operations between all treatments were identical (data not shown).



Experiment




Main plots*

Subplots

Subsubplots

Crop Year

Crop Year

Crop Year

Crop Year

Crop Year

Crop Year
















1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

I




B/NB

fallow/SWWW

Conventional

Fallow

SWWW

Fallow

SWWW

Fallow
















Integrated

Fallow

SWWW

Fallow

SWWW

Fallow










B/NB

SB/fallow/SWWW

Conventional

SB

Fallow

SWWW

SB

Fallow
















Integrated

SB

Fallow

SWWW

SB

Fallow










B/NB

fallow/SWWW/fallow/SWSW

Conventional

Fallow

SWSW

Fallow

SWWW

Fallow
















Integrated

Fallow

SWSW

Fallow

SWWW

Fallow





































II




B/NB

fallow/SWWW

Conventional




Fallow

SWWW

Fallow

SWWW

Fallow













Integrated




Fallow

SWWW

Fallow

SWWW

Fallow







B/NB

SB/fallow/SWWW

Conventional




SB

Fallow

SWWW

SB

Fallow













Integrated




SB

Fallow

SWWW

SB

Fallow







B/NB

fallow/SWSW/fallow/SWSW

Conventional




Fallow

SWSW

Fallow

SWWW

Fallow













Integrated




Fallow

SWSW

Fallow

SWWW

Fallow

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