Study aims to zero in on cover crop ROI

Determining the return on investment of cover crops can lead to more questions than answers. 

Vincent Gauthier with the Environmental Defense Fund says they’ve been collaborating with the Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota to gather data on the financial impact of cover crops.

“It takes time for soil health to be improved, so we want to see the timeline and how financial impacts occur over time as producers make investments in cover crops and improving their soil health.”

Through one year of the study, he tells Brownfield farmer revenues and costs associated with cover crops vary significantly.

“They need to figure out the best way of planting that cover crop, the best way of terminating it. And as they make those discoveries over a few years, the cost-effectiveness of that cover crop improves.”

Gauthier says climate smart incentives are crucial because they help producers transition to using cover crops without taking on all the preliminary costs.

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