Soil health practices such as cover crops and no-till can result in an economic return of over $100 per acre, according to a set of case studies jointly released by the National Association of Conservation Districts and Datu Research, LLC. During the three-year study period, corn-soybean farmers experimented with cover crops and/or no-till, and quantified the year-by-year changes in income they attributed to these practices compared to a pre-adoption baseline.
They found that while planting costs increased by up to $38 per acre, fertilizer costs decreased by up to $50 per acre, erosion repair costs decreased by up to $16 per acre, and yields increased by up to $76 per acre. The studies also found that with adoption of these conservation practices, net farm income increased by up to $110 per acre. Included in the farmers’ calculations was the considerable time they spent attending workshops or searching the internet to learn about no-till or cover crop practices.