Conservation Tillage Study Prepared for: The Cotton Foundation December, 2002 Doane Marketing Research St. Louis, Missouri
Study Purpose and Objectives Purpose • The primary purpose of this study, is to evaluate how tillage practices in cotton have changed since 1997 to the present and to determine the impact herbicide tolerant technologies such as Roundup Ready and BXN have had on tillage practices during this period. Objectives The key objectives of this study include: • To identify the tillage practices cotton growers utilized in 1997 and compare those to present day tillage practices. • To identify the changes in technology that have made it possible for growers to reduce tillage in cotton. • To identify obstacles that are currently preventing growers from trying to reduce tillage practices in cotton.
Methodology/Sample • Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI) were used to collect the data for this study. Interviewing was conducted from October 24th through November 2, 2002. • Qualified respondents must have planted a minimum of 250 acres of cotton in 2002 and be the individual responsible for tillage practice decisions in their farm operation. • Sample quotas were established in 13 Southern and Western states. The quotas were established based on the proportion of cotton acres in a state to the total cotton acres in the 13 state area. • Participants for this study were randomly selected from lists maintained by Doane Marketing Research, Inc. • Data was weighted to represent the universe of 250+ acre cotton acres in the 13 state study area. These universes were based on the latest available USDA estimates of acres.
Methodology/Sample Study Area and Sample by Area 100 35 134 100 - Southeast - Midsouth - Southwest - West
Key Findings • During the period from 1997 to 2002, the following events have occurred relative to cotton acreage among the study respondents (250 acre and above cotton growers) • No-till cotton acres have nearly doubled to 29% of the total cotton acres and reduced till acres have increased over one-half, to account for 30% of the cotton acres • Roundup Ready cotton acres have more than tripled to account for 77% of the total cotton acres grown in 2002. • The percent of cotton acres planted in ultra-narrow (7 to 10 inches) or narrow rows (11 to 29 inches) have increased by a fraction of a percent to account for slightly under 2% of the total cotton acres • In this same approximate time frame, study respondents (250 acre + cotton growers) stated they have undertaken the following cultural practices in cotton: • 80% of the growers are making fewer tillage passes in cotton • 75% of the growers are leaving more crop residue on the soil surface • 52% of the growers have increased their no-till cotton acres.
Key Findings • Roundup Ready technology has been a key factor enabling growers to undertake this tillage reduction revolution in cotton. When asked, “In the past 5 years, what changes in technology such as equipment, chemicals or seed have made it possible for you to reduce tillage or increase crop residue in cotton?” Growers stated on an unaided basis: • 79% - Roundup Ready technology, including: the seed, weed control, lower costs, less cultivation, and increased yield. • 26% - Better equipment, including hooded sprayers, planter technology… • 12% - Better chemicals not specified • 11% - Better/new seed out there-BT • When asked which of six factors had the greatest impact toward the adoption of reduced tillage or no-till in cotton during the past 5 years, growers indicated: • The introduction of Roundup Ready cotton 71% • The availability for over the top or in crop herbicides 15% • Improvements in reduced or no-till planters and drills 5% • The availability of reduced or no-till planters and drills 4% • Cost of burndown herbicides 3% • The availability of burndown herbicides 3% N= 269
Key Findings • Approximately 64 percent of the conventional till cotton growers surveyed indicated they have considered trying reduced or no-till cotton, but they currently do not practice reduced or no-till in their operation. Equipment issues are seen as a primary obstacle in trying reduced or no-till cotton, followed by ground and weather conditions. Factors or obstacles that have prevented this trial as stated on an unaided basis include : • The price of equipment 23% • Ground conditions 17% • Weather conditions—lack of moisture 14% • Weed control 9% • Crop rotation practices 8% • Not willing to change 8% • Tried reduced tillage, went back to conventional 6% • Just haven’t done it yet 5% • Don’t have proper equipment 5% • Roundup not effective in killing certain weeds 5% • Not making enough yield 5% N = 64
Key Findings • When asked, “What one thing could be done that would strongly influence you to adopt reduced or no-till cotton in the next 2 years?” the conventional cotton grower respondents who have considered trying reduced or no-till cotton gave the following unaided responses: • Better price for crop 14% • Not willing to change 14% • Reasonable price for equipment 9% • Reduced chemical cost 9% • Convince myself that it works 9% • Wouldn’t plant cotton 8% • Government subsidy 6% • Wouldn’t work on our land 6% • Weed control is main factor 6% N = 64 • Conservation tillage results in a $20.13 savings for fuel and labor when compared to conventional tillage.
Key Findings • The no-till and reduced tillage practices have significantly increased in the past 5 years.
Key Findings • The percent of no-till and reduced till acres seems to be significantly lower in the West region. In all regions the no-till and reduced tillage practices have significantly increased in the past 5 years.
Cotton Acres By Tillage Type 2002 vs. 1997 Acres (mil) N=369 unweighted base 11.4 mil. acs. 12.7 mil. acs. Q 1a Q 5a: How many acres of cotton did you plant in 2002? Repeat for 1997 Q 3 Q 7: How many of these 2002 acres were no-till or strip till, reduced till, conventional till? Repeat for 1997
Cotton Tillage Practices by Region 2002 Percent of acres Q 3: Thus overall, how many of these 2002 cotton acres were no-till or strip till, reduced till, conventional till?
Cotton Tillage Practices by Region 1997 Percent of acres Q 7: How many of these 1997 acres were no-till or strip till, reduced till, conventional till?
Mean Cost of an Average Tillage Trip Per Acre Q 9b 9c : When considering labor, fuel and wear on equipment, what would be the cost of an average tillage trip per acre?
Dollar Savings for Labor and Fuel on Conservation Tillage Acres Compared to Conventional Acres Q 17: What do you believe the dollar savings for labor and fuel to be on conservation tillage acres compared to conventional till acres?
Cotton Acres By Row Width 2002 vs. 1997 Acres (mil) N=369 unweighted base 11.4 mil. acs. 12.7 mil. acs. Q 1c Q 5b: How many of these 2002 acres were narrow, ultra narrow row, wide row? Repeat for 1997
Cotton Acres by Row Width by Region 2002 Q 1c Q 5b: How many of these 2002 acres were no-till or strip till, reduced till, conventional till? Repeat for 1997
Farmer Perceptions of How They Have Changed Tillage Practices During the Past Five Years N=369 unweighted base Percent Indicating “Yes” Q 9 Overall, compared to 5 years ago, would you say you: A. Are now making fewer tillage passes in cotton? B. Are now leaving more crop residue? C. Have more no-till acres in cotton?
Tillage Pass Reductions Over the Past 5 Years Q 9a On average, how many fewer tillage passes are you making today in cotton compared to 5 years ago?
Average Number of Tillage Pass Reductions Over the Past 5 Years by Region N=295 unweighted base Mean Pass Reductions Over Past 5 Years Q 9a On average, how many fewer tillage passes are you making today in cotton compared to 5 years ago?
Average Crop Residue on Soil SurfaceRegion in 2002 and 1997 N=278 unweighted base Mean Percent Crop Residue Level Q 9d Q9e: On average, what percent crop residue were/are you leaving in your cotton in 1997/2002 ?
Changes in Technology That Have Enabled Growers to Reduce Tillage and /or Increase Crop Residue Levels in Cotton Over the Past 5 Years Q 10: In the past 5 years, what changes in technology such as equipment, chemicals or seed have made it possible for you to reduce your tillage and/or increase your crop residue in cotton ?
Farmer Perceptions of Factors That Have Had The Greatest Impact Toward Adoption of Reduced Tillage or No-Till During the Past Five Years Q 12: Which of the following do you believe has had the greatest impact toward your adoption of reduced tillage or no-till in cotton during the past 5 years?
Have Growers Considered Trying Reduced Tillage or No-Till Cotton Operation? (Among Growers Having All Conventional Till Acres) Percent Indicating “Yes” N=100 unweighted base Q 13: Have you considered trying reduced tillage or no-till cotton in your operation?
Factors or Obstacles That Have Prevented Conventional Till Growers From Trying Reduced Tillage or No-Till Cotton - Unaided by Regions Q 14: What factors or obstacles if any have prevented you from trying reduced tillage or no-till cotton?
What One Thing Could Be Done That Would Strongly Influence Conventional Till Growers To Adopt Reduced Tillage or No-Till Cotton In The Next Year Or Two? Q 15: What one thing could be done that would strongly influence you to adopt reduced tillage or no-till cotton in the next year or two?
Conservation tillage saves fuel Farmer Perceptions of Statements About Tillage Practices Conservation tillage saves labor RUR cotton has made it possible for more growers in my area to adopt conservation tillage RUR cotton has made it possible for growers to use less residual herbicides (Strongly Disagree) (Strongly Agree) Q 16: I would like to read you a list of statements about tillage practices and find out if you agree or disagree with these statements. Using a five point scale where “1”=Strongly Disagree and “5”=Strongly Agree, please rate the following statements.
Seed technology has made conservation tillage feasible in my operation Farmer Perceptions of Statements About Tillage Practices Conservation tillage allows me to farm more acres I believe the overall profit on conservation tillage acres is greater than the overall profit on conventional till cotton Lower herbicide cost have helped farmers adopt conservation tillage (Strongly Disagree) (Strongly Agree) Q 16: I would like to read you a list of statements about tillage practices and find out if you agree or disagree with these statements. Using a five point scale where “1”=Strongly Disagree and “5”=Strongly Agree, please rate the following statements.
Farmer Perceptions of Statements About Tillage PracticesTop Box “5” % Strongly Agree Scores