New online tool helps farmers assess value of cover crops

A new online tool will help farmers assess the economics of cover crops in their operations.

The tool was developed by Iowa State University Extension and Practical Farmers of Iowa. Meghan Filbert with Practical Farmers says it lets farmers see the potential added value of cover crops when used for forage.

“What we’re showing with the calculator is that it’s possible, through proper management, to make your money back in the first year if you put that cover crop through a ruminant animal and graze it,” Filbert says.

She says recent on-farm research has found that grazing cover crops can result in sizeable profits within the first year.

“What this takes is planting your cover crop early and growing enough biomass, and waiting to turn your animals out until you have plenty of cover crop growth out there already. That’s where you’ll reap the biggest economic benefit.”

For more information and a link to the tool, click here.

AUDIO: Meghan Filbert

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