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Article
Cover Crops Use in Midwestern U.S. Agriculture: Perceived Benefits and Net Returns
Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems
  • Alejandro Plastina, Iowa State University
  • Fangge Liu, Iowa State University
  • Fernando E. Miguez, Iowa State Univeristy
  • Sarah Carlson, Practical Farmers of Iowa
Document Type
Article
Publication Version
Published Version
Publication Date
4-29-2018
DOI
10.1017/ S1742170518000194
Abstract

Despite being generally accepted as a promising conservation practice to reduce nitrate pollution and promote soil sustainability, cover crop adoption in Midwestern U.S. agriculture is low. Based on focus groups, surveys, and partial budgets, we calculated the annual net returns to cover crop use for farmers in Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota; and elicited farmers’ perceptions about the pros and cons of incorporating cover crops to their row cropping systems. The novelty of our methodology resides in comparing each farmer’s practices in the portion of their cropping system with cover crops (typically small), against their practices in the other portion of their cropping system without cover crops. The resulting comparisons, accounting for farmer heterogeneity, are more robust than the typical effects calculated by comparing indicators across cover crop users and unrelated non-adopters. Our results highlight the complicated nature of integrating cover crops into the crop production system, and show that cover crops affect whole farm profitability through several channels besides establishment and termination costs. Despite farmers’ positive perceptions about cover crops and the availability of cost-share programs, calculated annual net returns to cover crops use were negative for most participants.

Comments

This article is published as Plastina A, Liu F, Miguez F, Carlson S (2018). Cover crops use in Midwestern US agriculture: perceived benefits and net returns. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1017/ S1742170518000194.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
Copyright Owner
Cambridge University Press
Language
en
File Format
application/pdf
Citation Information
Alejandro Plastina, Fangge Liu, Fernando E. Miguez and Sarah Carlson. "Cover Crops Use in Midwestern U.S. Agriculture: Perceived Benefits and Net Returns" Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems (2018) p. 1 - 11
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/alejandro-plastina/20/