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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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10 Ways Cover Crops Enhance Soil Health

Soil health is a hot topic these days, one that is justifiably receiving considerable attention from farmers and their farm advisors. This short fact sheet highlights some of the key ways that cover crops improve soil health by influencing the biological and physical characteristics of the soil.

Cover Crops for Soil Health Workshop Video

Cover Crops for Soil Health Workshop

All session recordings and slide presentations from this three-day professional development workshop are available online. Hosted by Northeast SARE and Delaware State University in March 2016, this event addressed the latest research on the benefits and successful management of cover crops in grain, vegetable and animal production systems.

Cover Crop Cocktails

Mitch Hunter (Penn State University) discusses the principles of how to assemble different cover crop species into a successful cocktail based on farm management objectives, crop rotation restraints, and which cover crop species traits are complementary.

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Cover Crops for Sustainable Crop Rotations

Cover crops are one of the best ways to improve soil health, reduce off-farm inputs and protect natural resources. Find a wealth of educational materials developed out of decades of SARE-funded cover crop research.

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Cover Crop Management and Termination

Planning for proper spring management of your cover crop needs to happen before April. Learn from two experts in the field on a couple different methods for termination.

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2014 National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health

All session recordings and slide presentations from the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health are available online. Held in 2014 in Omaha, Neb., the event brought together 300 agricultural leaders and innovators to explore how we can make American agriculture more sustainable through improved soil health. Attendees represented agricultural industry, the farm community, academia, government, commodity and conservation organizations.

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Selecting Cover Crops

This session addressed the relative pros and cons of various cover crop species, including the less common cover crops and cover crops suited to grazing use. 

Cows walking in pasture.

Sustainable 12 Aprils Dairy Grazing

When rising feed costs threatened to put his once-successful confined feeding dairy out of business, Tom Trantham made the switch to a pasture-based rotational grazing system, and now his operation has never been stronger.

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Cover Crops for All Seasons

This Virginia Association for Biological Farming information sheet provides research-based information on a cover crop “toolbox” from which growers can select cover crops most suited to their regions and production systems.