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The threats to sustainable agriculture caused by severe land degradation, high soil salinity, and increased production costs on salt-affected, irrigated croplands of Uzbekistan, Central Asia, are both challenging and urgent. The present wide-spread cultivation practices of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and maize (Zea mays L.), but in particular cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), which was the predominant crop during the Soviet Union period (1924-1991) need to be altered by considering improved, technically feasible and economically viable practices. Therefore, the economic performance of three innovative crop rotation systems have been assessed and compared to Conventional Tillage (CT) practices. The cropping systems were all exposed to Bed Planting (BP) with a crop residue cover and included cotton-cover crop-cotton, cotton-wheat, and cotton-wheat-maize. Risk assessment was based on commodity prices and included State Procurement Price (SPP) and free Market Price (MP), but also variable production and input costs. A linear mathematic optimization model was employed to generate various simulations. Financial benefits (expressed in US dollars) were based on 2009 input costs and product prices. The findings revealed that Conservation Agriculture (CA)-based practices applied to the cropping systems could substantially increase economic returns especially in the early stages of adaption, provided they are flanked with appropriate agricultural practices and careful farm managements.


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