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Costs and Benefits of Cover Crops: An Example with Cereal Rye

Cover crops are considered one of the most effective in-field practice farmers can use to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus losses, keeping those nutrients out of streams and lakes. The costs associated with a cover crop will depend on many factors including the previous crop, next crop, tillage system, pesticide practices, cover crop species planted, and cover crop planting method. Regardless of the specific production choices, most of the costs associated with the cover crop will be in its establishment, which includes planting and seed costs. This article takes an initial look at the costs associated with cover crops for a specific example of drilling cereal rye into corn stalks.

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