Soil Health Management Boosts Income

soil health management income

Soil health management practices raised net per-acre income by an average of $65 per acre. So found a recent study of 30 farms across the U.S., growing 14 different crops.

The Soil Health Institute partnered with the National Association of Conservation Districts to conduct the study. In 20 different states, it interviewed farmers who had successfully implemented soil health management systems, and analyzed their budgets before and after the start of the practices to figure the impact on the bottom line.

While soil health management practices are promoted for a variety of environmental benefits, the study found that there are sound economic reasons for farmers to adopt them as well. Across all farms in the study, implementing soil health management practices saved producers money: $14 an acre for corn, $7 an acre for soybeans, and $16 an acre on all other crops taken together.

In addition, many practices, like grazing cover crops, add additional income on top of those savings.

The farmers interviewed used a variety of different practices, and in the interviews, many of them emphasized that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, they encouraged new adopters to start small and find practices that work for their own particular circumstances.

The one Oklahoma farmer interviewed for the study, Rick Jeans, farms 3,000 acres in Kay County, raising mainly soybean and milo. Jeans switched to no-till 30 years ago, and added cover crops around 2013.

As a result, the study found, Jeans’ income on soybeans increased by $1.33 an acre. On milo? $18.51 per acre.

“I think what’s benefited me more than anything was getting the water in the soil,” says Jeans. “The infiltration has improved drastically.”

A full report, along with fact sheets, videos, and resources, is available from the Soil Health Institute website.

Tag(s): soil

Sign Up for Our Newsletter