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Social and income trade-offs of conservation agriculture practices on crop residue use in Mexico’s central highlands

Tina D. Beuchelt, Carolina T. Camacho Villa, Lutz Göhring, Víctor M. Hernández Rodríguez, Jon Hellin, Kai Sonder and Olaf Erenstein ()

Agricultural Systems, 2015, vol. 134, issue C, 61-75

Abstract: Conservation agriculture (CA) is promoted worldwide to enhance soil quality, improve farmers’ incomes and increase the resilience of rainfed agro-ecosystems under climate change. A major constraint to the adoption of CA is crop residue management in mixed crop–livestock systems. Farmers have competing uses of crop residues – for soil cover, as fodder or as additional income source – which may explain low CA adoption rates in some countries. This paper describes the social and income trade-offs of different crop residue uses in Mexico at regional, community and household level associated with the introduction of CA. We first spatially analyze the importance of crop residues for fodder supply and identify municipalities with fodder surplus at national and regional level. Second, we assess the likely social trade-offs and implications for farming communities of changing a typical farm households’ residue allocation. Third, we identify the effects of crop residue uses on gross margins of maize and barley and assess the economic optimal crop residue allocation at the farm level with short planning horizons. The paper focuses on maize and barley producers in the central Mexican highlands and combines primary quantitative and qualitative data with secondary data.

Keywords: Gross margin; Crop residues; Soil cover; Fodder supply and demand; Livestock (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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