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Economics of Soil Health Systems – Tennessee (Webinar)

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 Tennessee grew crops on an average of 2,824 acres, using no-till on 100% and cover crops on 19% of those acres. Eighty 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 $13.32/acre less to grow corn and $21.08/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 Tennessee farmers by an average of $54.57/acre for corn and $69.48/acre for soybean. Farmers who grew cotton increased net income by an average of $61.21/acre, and those who grew wheat increased net income by an average of $42.22/acre when adopting a soil health management system. The current adoption rates of no-till (79%) and cover crops (11%) in Tennessee indicate that other Tennessee farmers may improve their profitability by adopting soil health management systems. Farmers also reported additional benefits of their soil health system, such as increased resilience to extreme weather and increased access to their fields.

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