Thirty people gathered at the Kerr Center on Saturday, September 26, for an in-depth look at all aspects of elderberries as an alternative crop, from propagation and culture through harvest and marketing. This post summarizes the workshop and provides links to resources used during it.
Case Studies Show Big Economic Benefits of Soil Health Practices
Soil health practices such as cover crops and no-till can result in an economic return of over $100 per acre, according to a set of case studies jointly released by the National Association of Conservation Districts and Datu Research, LLC.
Cover crops and no-till can limit soil loss, reduce run-off, enhance biodiversity, and more. Naturally, farmers who are considering adopting these practices are keen to know how they will affect their farm’s bottom line.
During the three-year study period, corn-soybean farmers experimented with cover crops and/or no-till, and quantified the year-by-year changes in income they attributed to these practices compared to a pre-adoption baseline. They found that while planting costs increased by up to $38 per acre:
- Fertilizer costs decreased by up to $50 per acre
- Erosion repair costs decreased by up to $16 per acre
- Yields increased by up to $76 per acre
The studies also found that with adoption of these conservation practices, net farm income increased by up to $110 per acre. Included in the farmers’ calculations was the considerable time they spent attending workshops or searching the internet to learn about no-till or cover crop practices.
The case studies can be viewed and downloaded here and the parent report is available on request.