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SWEEP Report #62

Volume I:
An Economic Evaluation of Soil Tillage Technologies

Deloitte and Touche Management Consultants, Guelph, Ont.

Executive Summary

View / Download Final Report [493 KB pdf]


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Completed: October, 1992

Executive Summary

This report summarizes the key issues, findings and conclusions of the economic evaluation of soil tillage technologies. Details of the findings reported here are presented in six supporting documents.

It has been demonstrated that soil conserving tillage technologies are profitable to use from both a farm field and watershed level. In addition to these farm related benefits, downstream activities (e.g. water conveyance) would be positively impacted with a reduction in soil loss, ranging from $3.00 to $12.00 per hectare of cropped farm land.

This report examines issues and options for promoting greater farmer adoption rates of reduced tillage technologies.

Summary and Recommendations

This report summarizes findings of an economic evaluation of soil tillage technologies tested within the SWEEP program. Several general conclusions regarding the results can be made:
  • It pays to use soil conserving tillage technologies both from a field and watershed perspective. Specifically, the net benefits of reduced or no tillage practices exceed the benefits of conventional tillage practices.
  • The variability in field level results (i.e. yields) with conservation tillage is either equivalent to or less than the variability associated with conventional tillage practices. Consequently, the financial risk associated with conservation tillage is equivalent to and sometimes lower compared to conventional tillage.
  • There is an inverse relationship between net watershed income and soil loss restrictions. However, the opportunity cost of soil loss restrictions is lower if farmers use soil conserving tillage technologies.
  • There is likely very little impact that will accrue to farm input suppliers and processors as a consequence of greater adoption of soil conserving tillage practices.
  • Significant cost savings to other "downstream" stakeholders will result from soil loss restrictions at the farm level. Consequently, the benefits of soil loss reductions are shared between many sectors of society (i.e. consumers, producers, taxpayers).
  • There is a logical process for assessing the reasons for low adoption levels of soil conserving tillage technologies. It is necessary to better understand these issues and the critical linkages which affect adoption rates and levels.
  • Several programs and strategies were presented for initiating some thought on how best to increase the adoption (uptake) of soil conserving tillage technologies.




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Created: 05-28-1996
Last Revised: Thursday, May 19, 2011 05:48:03 PM