HMI Certified Educator Owen Hablutzel, working with an agricultural producer in southern New Mexico, analyzed the benefit of whether to plant perennial grasses or alfalfa in a new irrigation pivot. Annual gross income from the grasses at 2 tons/acre @ $600/ton would be $168,000 or a gross profit of $120,800 or $862/acre. On the other hand, alfalfa brings in $240/ton resulting in $67,200/year or $12,400 gross profit for $89/acre gross profit. Moreover, the grasses or more resilient to floods or droughts and there is more of a market for it.
Owen also did some Keyline plowing to improve water infiltration and jump start the biological processes. You can see the results in terms of increased plant matter protecting and holding soil in the following before and after pictures.
To learn more about this type of on-farm research, subscribe to HMI’s journal, IN PRACTICE.