Cover Crops: Economics
Cover crops can improve the bottom line in many ways, by reducing fertilizer needs, lowering weed and pest pressure, improving yields and more.
This free online tool compares the nutrient value and cost of cover crops, organic and synthetic fertilizers and compost. Use this Excel Calculator to develop well balanced and cost effective nutrient management programs for your farm.
Cover Crops are an important addition to any farming system to improve soil quality and decrease soil erosion or nutrient loss. Cover crops are normally planted without the intention of a direct harvest. Rather, they are planted for the multiple benefits they provide to the farmer and the environment. In Iowa, cover crops are usually planted into standing corn or soybean crops or are planted after grain harvest. Farmers are concerned that a winter rye cover crop could negatively impact their cash crop yields.
In this research report from Practical Farmers of Iowa, fall cover crop impacts on corn and soybean yields are summarized.
Also, visit SARE's database for reports on these research projects:
- Optimization of Corn Production Following Legume Green Manures (2008, Wisconsin)
- Evaluating Winter Crops for the Environment and for Profit [on dairy farms] (2005, Ohio)
- Managing Cover Crop and Conservation Tillage Systems to Enhance Vegetable Crop Yields, Economic Returns and Environmental Quality (2004, Oregon)
Dig deeper into cover crops research: SARE has funded hundreds of research and education projects related to cover crops since 1988. This topic room features only a glimpse into SARE's entire portfolio of cover crop research. To discover more, visit SARE's database of projects and conduct full text or advanced keyword searches.