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Acreage allocation decisions by farmers have been identified as one of the causes of the decline in Michigan's navy bean production. Growing navy beans in successive years or in short rotation with other crops that return little organic matter to the soil has been shown to adversely affect soil structure, depletion of organic matter, and increase disease and pest problems. Furthermore, a large portion of the instability present in the quantity of navy beans produces, and therefore in prices and revenue, is directly related to variability in acreage allocation decisions of growers. In consequence, the problem as it is seen in this paper is one of resource allocation decisions by farmers. There is a need for defining a navy bean production strategy, which takes into consideration the overall crop production system. Given the importance of the navy bean sector in Michigan and its continuous decline in production, this paper focuses on risk and farm planning issues associated with rotations in which this crop is grown. In addition, it investigates a point raised regarding assessing the correlation between instability of other crops in the grower's rotation with navy bean instability. The general approach taken in this paper is that of a "system management perspective" where the goal is to determine system inputs given a system structure and a set of desired system outputs. The specific objectives are: (1) To analyze the degree of income variability associated with the most common field crops grown in Michigan's Saginaw Valley, and the rotations in which they are grown; (2) To investigate the relationship between stability and level of farm income for different navy bean cropping sequences; and (3) To determine the optimum continuously repeatable crop sequence mix and the optimum time for field operations for a 400 acre Saginaw Valley farm growing navy beans in rotation with sugar beets, corn, wheat, and soybeans.


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