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Nicholas Heller

Mentor Department



The environmental impact of current production agriculture operations in Illinois and across the corn belt have attracted attention in many studies. These studies point out the nutrient over application that then leaches off the farm and the negative impact monocultures have on biodiversity. The modern agriculture industry focuses largely on efficiencies on a large scale and on yield - not on farm profitability. Operations are dependent on costly inputs such as seed, fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and machinery costs. Despite rising yields, the current system is not sustainable and has resulted in a concomitant continued rise in farm bankruptcies. We propose alternative practices including intercropping which is a sustainable practice that can improve resource-use efficiency, such as nutrients and water, allowing low input agricultural systems. A system that reduces inputs and those associated costs may help increase operational profitability. The current study will evaluate cropping system specifics including row spacing, row orientation, seeding population, and intercropping and their impact on profitability which may offer producers a sustainable alternative to monocultures.


Authors: Raeann Huffman, Nicholas Heller

This project has not received IRB approval.

Corn and Soybean Cropping Systems: Profitability of Different Agronomic Management Techniques

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