ILF Webinar Recap: The economic value of cover crops

If you happened to miss the latest webinar, you can now watch it on our website here. Our own Liz Juchems presented a case study she worked on with the Iowa Cover Crop Working Group (ICCWG) that evaluated the economic value of cover crops in a corn-soybean system.

A scenario in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy outline goals for cover crop implementation on  60% of row crop acres in Iowa, approximately 12.5 million acres. In the study, Juchems and collaborators examined one way to help quantify the value of cover crop usage to the landowner.

Using data from RUSLE2 soil loss estimates and information from the Iowa Soils and Interpretive Database (ISPAID) Version 8, the group was able to calculate an economic value to the use of cover crops. This value translates to a savings of approximately $6.06 per acre of soil that is held in place by the presence of cover crops. This takes into account the loss of soil due to erosion, as well as the lost nutrient value in the soil which both affect potential crop yields.

One thing Juchems stressed in her talk was the use of cover crops as only a portion of a suite of conservation practices farmers and landowners can use in order to help push us toward reaching goals of the Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

An example which illustrates the idea that conservation practices are best when used together, she took a look at Tama County to show how savings can be maximized when cover crops and conversion to a no-till operation are combined in one system:

EconomicValueOfCCInfographic-04

If you’d like to hear more and listen to Liz’s webinar in full, you can watch here. Our full archive can be found here if you’d like to check out some of our past webinars!

Next month’s webinar will feature Wren Almitra and Tanya Meyer-Dideriksen who will be talking about the Women, Land, and Legacy Program on Wednesday April 20 at 1pm!

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