Economic and Environmental Aspects of Cover Crops

2017 National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health

SARE Outreach

National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health logo

Session recordings on this page include:

Economics of Cover Crops

Speakers will provide a commercial family farm perspective, using real research data to quantify the economic impact of a never-till and cover crop production system. Highlights include:

  • The economics of cover crops through the lens of a mid-sized diversified crop and livestock producer
  • Economic impact of cover crops on Indiana and Missouri farms

Ken Rulon, Indiana farmer (PDF)

J. Alan Weber, MARC-IV and Missouri farmer (PDF)

Business Opportunities with Cover Crops and Soil Health

What can the retail community do to promote cover crops to customers and find profit opportunities for companies as well? Be proactive in promoting change instead of reacting to it. This session will address cover crop challenges and opportunities from the retail and grower perspectives. Additional highlights include:

  • Incorporating the soil health/cover crops discussion into customer discussions on the farm
  • Learning from customers that use cover crops and no-till
  • Being a partner in the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and learning how to work a host of different partners on a common goal
  • How to arm farmers with an understanding that ag retailers can get involved

Garry Farrell, Ag Enterprise Supply (PDF)

Betsy Bower, Ceres Solutions (PDF)

Risa DeMasi, Grassland Oregon (PDF)

Environmental Impacts of Cover Crop Systems

This presentation will discuss how farmers from across the United States manage cover crops on their farms to achieve their soil loss prevention and water infiltration goals, as well as address misconceptions on nitrate losses to surface and ground water. Highlights include:

  • Why improving nitrogen fertilizer management is a good first step, but why it won’t stop nitrate leaching losses
  • Utilizing grass cover crops to improve soil structure, increase water infiltration, and reduce water and phosphorus runoff
  • Phosphorus soil dynamics
  • How cover crops can decrease soil losses from erosion by up to 100 percent and increase infiltration sixfold in some systems
  • How to manage cover crops to produce the same results on your own

Tom Kaspar, USDA-ARS Iowa (PDF)

Jim Hoorman, USDA-NRCS Ohio (PDF)

Sami Tellatin, North Central SARE (PDF)

The following session recordings are available: