Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #334952

Title: Managing cover crops: an economic perspective

item Duzy, Leah
item Balkcom, Kipling

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/21/2016
Publication Date: 11/4/2016
Citation: Duzy, L.M., Balkcom, K.S. 2016. Managing cover crops: an economic perspective. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Common reasons given by producers as to why they do not adopt cover crops are related to economics: time, labor, and cost required for planting and managing cover crops. While many of the agronomic benefits of cover crops directly relate to economics, there are costs associated with adopting the practice. Current research is being conducted at USDA-ARS, National Soil Dynamics Laboratory in Auburn, AL to provide producers with cover crop management options that minimize economic costs of cover crops, while maximizing biomass as a proxy for agronomic benefits. The objective was to evaluate the impact of cover crop planting date, seeding rate, and fertilizer rate on cereal rye (Secale cereale L.) biomass produced per dollar spent (kg US$-1) and profitability of the subsequent cash crop (US$ ha-1). The experiment was initiated in the fall of 2015 at Headland, AL as part of a peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) and cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) rotation. There were four cover crop planting dates, two seeding rates (67 and 101 kg ha-1), and four nitrogen fertilizer rates (0, 34, 67, and 101 kg N ha-1). Preliminary results indicate that to maximize biomass produced per dollar spent, cereal rye should be planted early or receive fertilizer if planted later. The lower seeding rate resulted in more biomass produced per dollar spent than the higher seeding rate; however, this is dependent on seed costs. In 2015, earlier planting dates and lower seeding and fertilizer rates produced numerically higher net returns for peanut.