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Abstract

Introduction : Two recent papers, Delbridge et al. (2011) and Delbridge et al. (2013), have used agricultural trial data from Southwestern Minnesota to compare the profitability of organic and conventional cropping systems. These analyses found that organic cropping systems can earn more on a per-hectare basis (Delbridge et al., 2011) and a whole-farm basis (Delbridge et al., 2013) than a conventional cropping system, given the same machinery and labor endowments. However, in the years since the collection of the agricultural trial data on which these analyses are based, conventional grain prices have reached record levels and some organic crop producers have begun to abandon their organic certification and return to conventional production. The strong performance of conventional crop producers in 2011-2012 raises the question: would the results of these analyses hold if they included more recent data? This paper answers this question by updating the analyses performed by Delbridge et al. (2011) and Delbridge et al. (2013) with 2011 and 2012 yield and management data from the Variable Input Crop Management Systems (VICMS) trial and more recent input and output price information.

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