Cost efficiency of different cropping systems encompassing the energy crop Helianthus annuus L.
University of Thessaly, Department of Agriculture, Crop Production & Rural Environment, Fytokoy street, 38443, Volos, Greece
Crop rotation and green manure are the most ancient and popular cropping systems. This study sought to analyze the economic efficiency of sunflower where pea (Pisum sativum L.) either harvested or incorporated at the flowering stage in the soil before the sowing of sunflower in Europe and the final agricultural profit of such a cultivation system. Therefore, the main objective of this paper is to report the production costs and to find out which of the tested cultivation system gets sunflower cultivation economically viable in Greece and in Mediterranean region. To assess the economic efficiency, three-year field experiments were established in two contrasting environments in central Greece (Trikala and Larisa) and contained three different cultivation practices using legumes comprised the main-factor (T1: control, T2: legume incorporated at the flowering stage, T3: legume incorporated after seed harvest), while nitrogen fertilization comprised the sub-factor (N1:0, N2:50, N3:100 and N4:150 kgNha-1). The results derived from this study revealed the positive effect of the legume incorporation treatment (T2: legume incorporated at the flowering stage) where the final yield increased up to 5 t ha-1 regardless region. Moreover, depending on the year the T2 treatment increases the final yield 30–50% and a yield increase was also noticed to the treatment where the legume was harvested (T3: legume incorporated after seed harvest). Therefore the introduction of this scheme into future land use systems in Greece and more generally in Mediterranean basin should be seriously taken into consideration.