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Iowa State custom rate survey includes cover crops for first time

Iowa State University included cover crops in its annual custom rate survey for the first time.

Extension economist Alejandro Plastina says farmers are hiring out to get cover crops seeded.

“Certainly there are a number of costs that add up to determine the cost structure and profitability of cover crops.”

Not counting the cost of seed, he tells Brownfield the rate to custom drill a cover averaged $16 per acre.

“That’s just the drill and the operator’s time. And then the aerial seeding of cover crops (was) about $12.40 per acre on average. The median was $11.25.”

Plastina says other custom rate survey firsts in 2021 included combining corn with a reel, which was necessary in many fields impacted by the August derecho, and scouting crops with fixed-wing drones.

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