Cover crop value

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

What value do cover crops bring to a farm field?  As the old saying goes: There are a 1000 ways to skin a cat! Please do not take that literally.  I came across two sources that try to put a value on cover crops for their farms. 

Rulon farms in Indiana have been doing no-till and cover crops since 2005.  They farm 5600 acres, 50-50 corn -soybean, using no-till and about 90% of their acres have cover crops. This is a family farm with one brother being a Purdue Economist.  Since they believe the benefits accrue over many years, they do a “whole farm” cost-benefit approach (costs and benefits/acre are additive).  The Rulon’s have used 4 different cover crop mixes using mostly spring oats, radish, rape, and crimson clover (after early corn) or simply cereal rye after late corn.  Their average cost per acre for seed is around $22/acre. … Continue reading