The Retrospective Soil Health Economic Calculator (R-SHEC) Tool is an Excel-based partial budget analysis tool for quantifying the benefits and costs experienced by already “soil health successful” producers. AFT has released a version for row crops and one for almonds. The row crop version is designed to evaluate the economic effects of the following soil health practices: no-till or reduced tillage, cover crops, nutrient management, and conservation crop rotation. The almond version evaluates the economic effects of conservation cover, nutrient management, compost application, and mulching. The tool can be used with row crop farmers and almond growers that have adopted any one or a combination of these practices, ideally for four or more years, and within the last 15 years.
The R-SHEC Tool can be used on row crop farms growing corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay and on almond orchards. The Tool employs partial budgeting analysis (PBA) to calculate the change in net income due to the soil health practices. The calculator relies on user inputs and standardized cost and price information built into the tool. Data is collected through an interview with the producer using the R-SHEC Questionnaire.
The R-SHEC Tool was developed for use in Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic states but could be used elsewhere with price or cost adjustments as needed. Results are displayed in a PBA table on an annual basis per acre AND for the entire study area.
AFT used the R-SHEC Tool to develop the partial budget analysis for case studies of soil health successful farmers in California, Illinois, Ohio, and New York as part of the methods of a Conservation Innovation Grant, “Quantifying the Economic and Environmental Benefits of Soil Health.”