Farm Practices & Management
Driven by farmers' expectations of higher crop yields and/or lower production costs, management time savings, and other benefits, the rate at which U.S. farmers adopt genetically engineered (GE) crop varieties appears to have reached a plateau at high adoption rates (around 92-94 percent of planted acres) for corn, soybeans, and cotton.
ERS evaluates the influence of rising energy costs and crop prices on fertilizer prices, nutrient supply, and consumption. ERS research also examines factors influencing volatile fertilizer markets and farmers' strategies to manage nutrient use under price uncertainty. ERS evaluates factors driving trends in the use and composition of pesticides in the United States. Changing relative prices of inputs, trends in the extent and location of crop production, use of biotechnology, adoption of organic systems, pest invasions, and climate change all contribute to changes in pesticide use.
Crop & Livestock Practices
ERS analyzes trends in the adoption of a range of crop and livestock production practices and their effectiveness in reducing costs, increasing farming profitability, minimizing losses to the environment, and conserving natural resources.
Irrigation & Water Use
In an era of increasingly limited and more costly water supplies, efficient irrigation systems and water management practices can help maintain farm profitability and assist USDA in meeting conservation and environmental policy goals.
Uncertainty in prices, yields, government policies, and foreign markets means that risk management plays an important role in many farm business decisions.