Within semi-arid environments, reduction in soil moisture by cover crops is a potential disadvantage. Water is often the most limiting factor in crop production across the U.S. Great Plains. Water use by cover crops has been shown to greatly reduce yields of subsequent crops in semi-arid regions. The adoption of cover crops in cropping systems is based on the perceived balance between advantages and disadvantages. Crop yield is often used as a major criterion to determine if a particular management practice provides an advantage or disadvantage. The objective of this research was to determine the impact of grass, legume, and multi-species cover crops in crop yield and economic return compared with conventional practices in dryland systems.