Cover Crops: Economics

Cover Crops: Economics

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.

Cover Crop Economics


Cover crops can build soil health, control weeds, conserve moisture, provide grazing opportunities and more. But when do they start to pay for themselves? This analysis looks at the economics behind different management scenarios to determine if cover crops are likely to improve profitability in one, three or five years of use in corn and soybean rotations. 

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Organic Fertilizer and Cover Crop Calculator


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.

Winter Rye Cover Crop Effect on Cash Crop Yields


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.

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Also, visit SARE's database for reports on these research projects:

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.

Product specs
Format: Topic Rooms
Year: 2015
Location: North Central | Northeast | South | West

Farmers Say Cover Crops Work

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From increasing yield to improving soil health, find out why farmers use cover crops. For four years, SARE and partner organizations have conducted a national survey of farmers on their experiences with cover crops.

2012-2013 Survey: Summary and report (PDF)

2013-2014 Survey: Summary and report (PDF)

2014-2015 Survey: Summary and report (PDF)

2015-2016 Survey: Summary and report (PDF)

2016-2017 Survey: Summary and report (PDF)

Building Soils for Better Crops, 3rd Edition

Type: Book

Building Soils for Better Crops is a one-of-a-kind, practical guide to ecological soil management, now expanded and in full color.

Published: 2010
Pages: 294

Online Version: Free

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Print Version:

Cover Crop Innovators Series

Watch short videos of innovative farmers from across the country describing how they have successfully added cover crops to their cash crop rotations. Learn more.