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Many organic farmers in Saskatchewan were using sweetclover in a wheat cropping system.
Their studies (1989) at Indian Head, Saskatchewan showed that the degree of weed control on 6 organic farms was such that yields were only 9% below those of wheat fields that were completely free of weeds.
These farms were getting a 30% price premium for their wheat.
Suggest that, given the results at Indian Head, it should be possible for organic farmers to make good profits even with lower yields.
To investigate the economics of an organic system, they examined the results obtained at Indian Head from a wheat-wheat-sweetclover green manure rotation. It received no fertilizer, and could be considered to be a "near organic" system. They assumed a 30% premium, and the results cover a seven year period (1978-84).
Although the return above variable inputs was higher for the "organic" system ($138/ha versus $95) the results are not conclusive. The organic yields were estimated by simply reducing the yields obtained in a similar conventional rotation by 9.1%. The budgets do not appear to reflect alternative weed control practices that might have been used in an organic system.
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