Economics

When Do Cover Crops Pay Off?

A new report from USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education explores cover crop profitability.
Farmers around the country are planting cover crops on millions of acres to protect and improve the soil, and the more that farmers use cover crops, the more they value this conservation practice. Cover Crop Economics, a new report published by USDA-SARE looks at the economics of cover crops to help farmers answer that big question: "When do cover crops pay?"
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Proposed FEEDD Act Enables USDA to Allow Producers to Graze, Hay or Chop Cover Crops for Livestock

Cover crops could be harvested before Nov. 1 in the event of a feed shortage due to excessive moisture, flood or drought.
U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Angie Craig (D-MN-02) introduced the bipartisan Feed Emergency Enhancement During Disasters Act (FEEDD Act). The FEEDD Act will provide farmers and ranchers additional emergency flexibility to help alleviate feed shortages during planting seasons with high levels of prevent plant due to extreme moisture or drought.
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Protect Soaked Soil With Cover Crops

Cover crops can also help prevent fallow syndrome.
Excessive precipitation and persistently wet conditions have prevented the planting of corn and soybean in some fields and led to ponding and drown-out areas in others. On acres where “prevent plant” is claimed for insurance, the USDA-Risk Management Agency (RMA) requires protection from erosion and control of noxious weeds. Planting a cover crop to these areas can help control weeds and prevent erosion, while enhancing soil structure and preventing “fallow syndrome”. 
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Cut Input Costs While Improving Yields

Utilizing data to "farm green" improves field conditions and results in less use of potash and lime.
A 27.5% decrease in synthetic nitrogen, 49.5% decrease in farm diesel, 91.8% decrease in MAP (monoammonium phosphate) and a 100% decrease in both lime and potash applications – these are just a few of the impressive input reductions Clark Land & Cattle have made from 2011 to 2018 – while improving yield averages year on year.
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Illinois Incentivizes Planting Fall Cover Crops in 2020 Budget

Crop Insurance Reward Pilot Program promotes cover crops as an in-field management practice.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture will adopt and implement a crop insurance reward program for cover crops that American Farmland Trust and a coalition of agriculture, environmental and conservation organizations developed.
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Attend the 2019 National Strip-Tillage Conference

Join the most innovative, forward-thinking strip-till farmers, agronomists and researchers today at the 6th annual National Strip-Tillage Conference in Peoria, Ill., August 1-2, 2019. Discover practical cover cropping techniques and hundreds of proven ideas to boost your strip-till yields.

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