HELENA, Mont. — Opportunities for alternative crops continue to increase, and 2011 is presenting Montana farmers with a number of highly profitable opportunities. Recent updates the Montana Department of Agriculture made to its online Crop & Rotation Economics Comparison spreadsheets allow farmers to compare the relative profitability of several crops and crop rotations.
Good soil moisture, strong markets and favorable crop insurance price guarantees may reduce some of the risks that discourage farmers from trying new crops or adopting more intensive rotations with fewer fallow acres, said Chad Lee, business development officer with the department.
Changes to the 2011 spreadsheet include a larger crop selection, the ability to consider crop insurance revenue in analyses and a graphical interface to compare the profitability of individual crops and consider variability in yields, commodity prices and fertilizer costs.
The 2011 spreadsheet enables farmers to take a close look at the different classes of pulse crops (peas, lentils, and chickpeas). In recent years, pulse crops have offered favorable profit potential, and buyers are looking for increased production, Lee said. Given the low water requirements of pulse crops and the surplus soil moisture conditions present in much of Montana, Montana farmers may have a unique opportunity to replace traditionally fallow acres with pulse crops with moderate risk to soil moisture for 2012 crops.
If farmers want to insure pulse crops or other alternative crops, they need to contact their crop insurance agents and sign up for multi-peril crop insurance by March 15. Farmers considering growing pulse crops or other alternative crops are advised to assess whether fields might have residual herbicide in the soil that could damage the crops.
The 2011 Crop & Rotation Economics Comparison Tool can be downloaded from the following website: http://www.agr.mt.gov/business/cropandrotationtools.asp
Montana Department of Agriculture
Agriculture Development & Marketing Bureau
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-2402
Fax: (406) 444-9442
Published: March 11, 2011 4:15:00 PM MST.
Last Modified: September 15, 2011 10:52:41 AM MDT