University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Advised by Dr. Gary Schnitkey
An Economic Comparison of Double Crop Wheat in a Corn Soybean Rotation
Double-crop wheat and soybean can increase yields, improve soil quality, and decrease soil nitrate loss. Double crops are unique as a cover crop alternative that produces revenue. We compare a 1) wheat double-crop soybeans (WDCS), corn, and soybean rotation that also incorporated a cover crop to a 2) control which included the standard Illinois of corn and soybeans. Data comes from a Piatt County, Illinois, farm operated to maximize profits. As such, the trial and data are unique in that few acres have WDCS. The rotation with WDCS significantly reduces nitrates in field trials. However, the rotation with WDCS had lower returns than the standard rotation, mainly because soybean yields were low in 2019 and 2020. In addition, early frosts contributed to low double-crop soybean yields. Another contributor to the lower profitability of the rotation, including WDCS, is the learning curve that comes with implementing a new intensive system. WDCS has promise but requires sophisticated management, timely wheat harvest, and double-crop soybean planting.