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Economics of Soil Health Systems – Iowa (Fact Sheet)

The Soil Health Institute and Cargill conducted this project to provide farmers with the economic information they need when deciding whether to adopt soil health practices and systems. The 10 farmers interviewed in Iowa grew crops on an average of 2125 acres, using no-till on 83% and cover crops on 58% of those acres. Seventy percent of the farmers interviewed reported increased yield from using a soil health management system, and none reported a yield decline. Based on the information provided by these farmers, it cost an average of $22.98/acre less to grow corn and $11.36/acre less to grow soybean using a soil health management system. Based on standardized prices, the soil health management system increased net income for these 10 Iowa farmers by an average of $63.85/acre for corn and $36.79/acre for soybean. The current adoption rates of no-till (35%) and cover crops (4%) in Iowa indicate that many other Iowa farmers may improve their profitability by adopting soil health management systems.

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