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Fewer hectares with higher standards mean more profits

Example 1:

2 ha @ 2 t/ha = 4 t @ $900/t

Costs

= 2 ha @ $1578/ha

Gross Margin

= $3600 = $3156 = $444 profit

Example 2:

1 ha @ 4 t/ha = 4 t @ $900/t

Costs

= 1 ha @ $1876/ha

Gross Margin

= $3600 = $1876 = $1742 profit

Example 3:

1 ha @ 6 t/ha Costs Gross Margin

= 6 t @ $900/t = 1 ha @ $2175/ha

= $5400 = $2175 = $3225 profit

The areas here are only representative and will vary according to the situation.

Chart1: Examples of the gains brought by higher input agriculture (Oldreive, 1993)

The effect of two simulated storm trials on water run off and soil loss

a)

63mm rain in 1 hour on 4% slope

Treatment

Water Runoff

Soil Loss

%

t/ha

Deep ploughed and disced

90

Ripped and disced,

10% stover cover

70

Chisel ploughed and

cultivated 30% stover cover

34

Zero-tilled, 80% stover cover

6

28.5

6.7

1.6 1.0

b)

Two consecutive day treatments; total of 125 mm applied in 2 hours

Conventional till - 52 mm infiltrated

Tractor could only get in after 2 to 2 days

Z

ero-

till

-

122

m m i n f i l t r a t e d

T

r a c t o r c o u

ld

g e t i n a f t e r

4h

ours

Chart 2: The advantages of conservation tillage illustrated (Oldreive, 1993)

Chart 2 however helps to show that even with higher inputs such as fertilizer, tillage is an important practice for enhanced machinery and crop performance. The information on Chart 2 helps show the gains of conservation tillage.

The case is reported where no-till practice, where 80% stover is left on the surface is compared to reduced tillage, chisel ploughing and conventional disc tillage. It is shown that the higher energy tillage methods led by conventional tillage, led to increased runoff, hence soil loss, with dramatic difference, though

10,

This paper is published in: Kaumbutho P G and Simalenga T E (eds), 1999. Conservation tillage with animal traction. A resource book of the

Animal Traction Network for Eastern and Southern Africa (ATNESA). Harare. Zimbabwe. 173p. A publication supported by French Cooperation, Namibia. For details of ATNESA and its resource publications, see http://www.atnesa.org

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