Quick Access

Related Information

Organic Program

Organic vs. Conventional

Modeling the Economics with Crop Rotations

Comparing the economics of certified organic production versus conventional farming can be a challenge. The department has created the rotation modeling spreadsheet to serve as a highly customizable tool for farmers considering organic production. The spreadsheet allows users to design and compare up to four organic rotations and four conventional rotations.


In view of the price volatility in recent times, two sets of spreadsheets (Excel format) are provided with default values to reflect the assumptions used in crop prices and input costs. The first set is based on mid-2007 commodity prices and input costs from 2007-2008. The second uses 2006 crop prices and costs. Default values entered into both sets of spreadsheets are for a "first glance" level of analysis only.


Important Notes:

  1. The effectiveness of spreadsheets as a comparison tool depends heavily on the assumptions. Users should select rotations and assumptions appropriate for their farm, risk tolerance, and perspective of future crop prices and input costs. Default rotations are provided as examples only, and may not be suitable for some farms.
  2. The Rotation Modeling spreadsheet is most appropriate for preliminary comparison of rotations or for evaluating individual fields. This analysis does not consider fixed costs. A whole-farm modeling spreadsheet (See link in left navigation) includes fixed costs, but is a bit more complicated and is provided only as an example.



Agricultural Development Division
Montana Department of Agriculture
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-2402
Fax: (406) 444-9442


Published: Mon Nov 21 14:59:00 MST 2011.
Last Modified: Mon Aug 22 14:52:00 MDT 2016