ROTATIONS COMPARED


WORKING CAPITAL REQUIREMENTS


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THE ROTATIONS COMPARED

CHAPTER HEADING

SUMMARY OF CONTENTS

Soil erosion is the main sustainability issue for farming in the cereal zone of
the WANA region. The impact of the four rotations on soil erosion is
examined.

The possible benefits of moisture storage still lingers on as an issue with
many farmers. This chapter shows how moisture storage (if it occurs) cannot justify the use of a long cultivated fallow.

Costs and returns are the major determinants of farmers profits. The cost of production for each rotation is examined both for small and large farmers.

Returns relate to the level of output and price. This chapter looks mainly at
output.

For small farmers with few resources and financial reserves risk is
particularly import. A balance needs to be struck between high profits and
risk.

Each rotation has an inherent level of weed control. Other weed control
measures can be applied (see later chapters) but the natural ability of the
rotation to "clean" the land or otherwise is an important part of the decision
making process.

The amount of labour and the time it is used are an important aspect of each rotation.

Capital (You are here)

This chapter looks at the capital requirements for each rotation but machinery is treated separately (see below)

Machinery is a special part of the general capital requirements. It is
particularly difficult for small farmers.

We have assumed that the starting point for most farmers is the growing of a cereal crop. We have examined the conflict between the requirement of the cereal crop and the new crop, new forage or pasture being introduced into the rotation.

Small farmers are resource poor. In this chapter we have selected the aspects of the above comparisons that would be appropriate for small farmers.

This chapter provide a framework for selecting a combination of the four
rotations and other variations.

The Zaghouan 4 rotation is not included in the comparison. It is an innovation from Tunisia that cleverly overcomes many of the problems of medic on small farms.

FOUR COMMON ROTATION ON THE GROUND IN THE WANA REGION

SEASON

ROTATIONS

CEREAL - FALLOW

CEREAL - MEDIC
( Traditional rotation)

CEREAL - VETCH

CEREAL - GRAIN
LEGUME.

AUTUMN

Cereal crop sown

Cereal crop sown

Cereal crop sown

Cereal crop sown

WINTER

Cereal crop grows

Cereal crop grows

Cereal crop grows

Cereal crop grows

SPRING

Cereal crop matures

Cereal crop matures

Cereal crop matures

Cereal crop matures

SUMMER

Cereal crop harvested
Stubble grazed by livestock

Cereal crop harvested
Stubble grazed by livestock

Cereal crop harvested
Stubble grazed by livestock

Cereal crop harvested
Stubble grazed by livestock

AUTUMN

Weeds germinate naturally

Medic regenerates from seed
produced 18 months earlier.
No cultivation of the land required.

Land cultivated and sown to vetch or similar forage legumes.

Land cultivated and sown to grain legume such as lentils or
chick peas.

WINTER

Weeds grazed. Low stocking rate.

Medic pasture grazed. High stocking rate.

Grazed or more often left for hay.

Grain legumes grow.

SPRING

Land cultivated for fallow

Medic grazed. Pods produced for future regeneration.

Cut for hay.

Grain legumes mature.

SUMMER

Bare soil vulnerable to erosion.

Pods and stubble grazed.

Stubble grazed.

Grain legumes harvested.

Stubble grazed.

AUTUMN

Cereal cycle begins again.

Cereal cycle begins again

Cereal cycle begins again

Cereal cycle begins again

Cereal - fallow rotation.

Working capital requirements are low. It is a low input - low output system.

* Cereal phase

Working capital is required for seed and fertiliser. Herbicides are sometimes used. If a contractor is used there are charges for cultivating, seeding and harvesting. The fallowing is done in the spring and the contractor needs to be paid while the return for the cereal crop is not available for another 18 months.

* Fallow phase

Nothing is spent on the weedy pasture.

Working capital requirement and returns for cereal-fallow rotation

Season

Land under cereals

Land under fallow

Autumn

Capital required for seed, fertiliser and seeding costs.

Nothing spent on fallow.

Winter

Herbicides may be used. Purchase of chenicals and application

Nothing spent on fallow

Spring

Late spring or early summer cereal crop harvested. Cost of harvesting.

Land is fallowed. Cultivation costs.

Summer

Surplus cereal production sold.

Some income from sheep sales

Cereal - medic rotation

* Cereal phase

Working capital requirements less than the traditional fallow rotation. Costs are incurred in the autumn and returns from the cereals are available in the following summer. Phosphate fertiliser is used but no nitrogen. Herbicides are more likely to be used with this rotation than with the cereal-fallow. If longer rotations are adopted (for example Zaghouan 4) on the basis of a smaller area of cereals with a much higher yield the working capital requirement will be reduced in proportion to the reduction in cereal area.

* Pasture phase.

Traditional seeding of medic pasture with seed will require working capital for seed, seeding and fertiliser. Establishment cost can be high as in addition to these input the farmer must prepare a good seed bed. In most cases the return from savings in winter feed and increased lamb weights will repay the working capital invested in the establishment of the medic pasture within six months.

Establishing the pasture with pods costs much less. The farmer purchases or harvest pods and broadcasts them on the cereal crop the year before. Less capital is required but the pay back period in longer. The pods are harvested or purchased in the summer of season 1. They are broadcast in the autumn of season 1 over the cereal crop. They regenerate in autumn of season 2. The returns from the pasture are received in winter and spring of season 2.

When the established system has lower working capital requirement than the establishment phase.

As pasture production expands farmers will use the additional feed to replace existing hay and grain and to grow lambs to a heavier weight for sale. No working capital is required for additional sheep. Hay and grain sales free up working capital. Further pasture production will be used to expand the flock. This can be done gradually with the natural increase of the flock and does not require capital expenditure.

Working capital requirement and returns for medic-cereal rotation

Season

Land under cereals

Land under medic (when rotation has been established)

Autumn

Capital required for seed, fertiliser and seeding costs.

Phosphate fertiliser applied to regenerating medic pasture

Winter

Herbicides may be used. Purchase of chenicals and application

Nothing spent on medic pasture during winter. Any surplus hay or garin can be sold.

Spring

Late spring or early summer cereal crop harvested. Cost of harvesting.

Nothing spent in spring

Summer

Surplus cereal production sold.

Substanial income from sheep sales

Cereal - vetch rotation and cereal - grain legume rotation.

Both these rotations will require large capital expenditure on tractors and farm machinery. This will be explained in more detail below in further chapters.

* Cereal phase

Similar to the cereal phase with medic but nitrogen fertiliser is needed. While medic will return ample nitrogen to the soil because it is grazed the vetch or grain legume is removed as hay or grain and less nitrogen is available for the cereal.

* Vetch phase.

Similar to cereal phase. Seed and fertiliser need to be paid for and the cost of cultivating and sowing. The cutting of the vetch for hay can be done by the farmer or by a contractor or on the basis of shares.

* Grain legumes.

These will have high costs and higher working capital requirements as the standard of seed bed preparation and weed control needs to be higher.

Working capital requirement and returns for cereal-vetch or garin legume rotation

Season

Land under cereals

Land under vetch ot grain legume

Autumn

Capital required for seed, fertiliser and seeding costs.

Working capital required for seed, fertiliser and seeding costs.

Winter

Herbicides may be used. Purchase of chenicals and application

Hericides not used

Spring

Late spring or early summer cereal crop harvested. Cost of harvesting.

Vetch cut for hay and possibly sold

Summer

Surplus cereal production sold.

Grain legumes harvested and sold