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Appendix 2 - Six Watershed Comparison Spreadsheets

The following two spreadsheets and accompanying documentation were developed by Dr. William Lazarus of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Applied Economics. They compare the potential yields and income from perennial and cover crops or livestock enterprises utilizing those crops with that of the annual row crops grown in the pilot watersheds assessed through the Working Lands project. 

Both spreadsheets include actual prices for row crops, alfalfa, Kernza wheat, and the livestock enterprises. The Six Watershed Comparison spreadsheet sets hypothetical prices for those crops not currently being marketed in Minnesota: switchgrass, miscanthus, camelina and pennycress. The Six Watersheds Comparison Reduced Prices spreadsheet sets the prices for these crops to zero and removes harvesting costs for those crops and fertilizer cost for switchgrass.

Users of the spreadsheets can toggle between several options:

  • average prices in 2012-2016 or current prices (2017 and forecast for 2018) shown in the Watershed List2 sheet;
  • all cropland in the watershed, marginal land (defined as Land Capability Classes 3 with slopes and 4 through 8), or non-marginal land (Land Capability Classes 1 and 2), shown on the Returns by CPI sheet;
  • the selected watershed and the assigned alternate crops can also be changed on the Returns by CPI sheet. 

Users can save a copy of either spreadsheet and  can change the values in the yellow cells to test different prices, costs, cropping scenarios and assumptions.  Of course, the spreadsheets are based on generalized information for the watersheds and counties assessed for this project, and will not be as accurate as a more site-specific property assessment. 

Questions and comments about the spreadsheets may be directed to Suzanne Rhees,, and will be shared with Dr. Lazarus and other project advisors.  The spreadsheets may be updated in the future as new information on crop prices becomes available.


Cropland, pasture and woodland in the Watson Creek watershed, Fillmore County. Photo by William Lazarus. 

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