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Land Use Practices Cover Crops (Cereal Rye example) · PDF file IA NRS Cost Tool Overview Tyndall & Bowman, 2016 Draft Land Use Practices Cover Crops (Cereal Rye example): Cover crops

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  • IA NRS Cost Tool Overview Tyndall & Bowman, 2016 Draft

    Land Use Practices Cover Crops (Cereal Rye example): Cover crops are plants that are used to protect soils during the period between the harvest and establishment of crops such as corn and soybeans (table 1). They have the capacity to scavenge/ retain nitrates, reduce erosion in the field and reduce the movement of

    phosphorus. Based on the science summary produced by the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy (Lawrence 2013), cereal rye cover crops result in an average 31% reduction in nitrate (N) field loss and about 29% reduction in phosphate (P) loss (though it should be noted that the standard deviations are quite high indicating highly variable results). There are many other cover crop types suitable for different regions in Iowa; cover crop choice is a matter of field level land use goals and regional crop suitability. The Midwest Cover Crops Council has developed and made available online, a comprehensive field guide and species selection decision tool; this can be found at: http://www.mccc.msu.edu/index.htm.

    Table 1. General practice characteristics of cereal rye cover crops as used in Iowa and basic cost parameters. This practice can be cost shared with the NRCS via the EQIP cover crop program.

    Best Management

    Practice Goals of Practice Basic Cost Parameters

    Cover Crops (NRCS Practice

    Code 340)

    Reduce erosion from wind and water. Increase soil organic matter content. Capture and recycle or redistribute nutrients (particularly N) in the soil profile. Suppress Weeds. Manage soil moisture. Minimize and reduce soil compaction.

    Seed costs (usually cereal rye or mix). Planting (aerial or broadcast). Termination (herbicide or mechanical). Opportunity costs from potential losses from effects on corn or bean yield. General extra management costs (e.g., walking fields, adjusting equipment, etc.)

    Cost Overview for Cereal Rye Cover Crops: Depending on the method of seeding (drilling, aerial, broadcast) and cover crop termination (chemical or mechanical) the total average annual cost ranges from a low of about $57 per acre to a high of about $68 per acre (see table 2 below). The single costliest aspect of using cover crops based on this analysis is the cost of seed (based on 2016 prices from online Cornbelt region seed dealers); less expensive, local seed sources may well be available variably by region within the state. Aerial seeding is in general more expensive than broadcast seeding and herbicide termination is generally more expensive than mechanical methods. Table 3 below outlines various cost bearing activities generally associated with establishing and managing cereal rye cover crops in Iowa (note: management activities may vary from farm to farm). For more information, please see Roley et al. (2016).

    Cereal Rye. Photo: Iowa Learning Farm

  • IA NRS Cost Tool Overview Tyndall & Bowman, 2016 Draft

    Table 2: Average costs 1 for Cereal Rye Winter Cover Crops in Iowa 2016.

    Aerial option total cost per acre (herbicide

    termination)

    Broadcast option total cost per acre (herbicide

    termination)

    EQIP2 Aerial option total cost per acre

    (herbicide termination)

    EQIP2 Broadcast option total cost per

    acre (herbicide termination)

    ~ $65 ~ $63 ~ $25 ~ $23

    Min $42; Max $84 Min $37; Max $80 Min $2; Max $44 Min $0; Max $40

    1. Assumes no negative or positive yield effects.

    2. 2016 Iowa EQIP Basic Payment Rates Chemical or mechanical kill species—$40.13/Ac; http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/PA_NRCSConsumption/download?cid=nrcseprd420279&ext=pdf

    Important caveat: Please note that the direct and indirect cost of any Best Management Practice can vary considerably from site to site and are largely contingent on: initial conditions, hydrology, soils, crop, practice design, management characteristics and experienced opportunity costs (which can be highly variable). As with all of these types of financial assessments, the costs presented here are simply baseline numbers and are meant to be informative rather than prescriptive. References Iowa Learning Farms and Practical Farmers of Iowa. (2014) Winter Cereal Rye Cover Crop Effect on Cash Crop Yield. Available at: http://practicalfarmers.org/farmer-knowledge/research-reports/2014/winter-cereal-rye-cover-crop-effect- cash-crop-yield/ Lawrence J. 2013. Iowa Strategy to Reduce Nutrient Loss: Nitrogen and Phosphorus Practices. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. SP 0435. February 2013.

    Plastina, A. and A. Johanns (2016) 2016 Iowa farm custom rate survey. Ag Decision Maker. File A3-10; FM 1698 (Revised, March 2016). Avialable at: https://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/crops/pdf/a3-10.pdf

    Roley, S., Tank, J., Tyndall, J.C., Witter, J. (2016) How cost-effective are cover crops, wetlands, and two-stage ditches for nitrogen removal in the Mississippi River Basin? Water Resources & Economics. This cost information may be cited as: Tyndall, J., and T. Bowman (2016) Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy Best Management Practice cost overview series: Cover crops. Department of Ecology & Natural Resource management, Iowa State University.

  • IA NRS Cost Tool Overview Tyndall & Bowman, 2016 Draft

    Table 3. Custom rate costs associated with winter cereal rye cover crop (Secale cereal)1 planted in Iowa; primary cover goal is nitrogen scavenging. Costs presented in 2016 dollars. Data updated from Roley et al., 2016.

    1 There are a number of different cover crops that are suitable in Iowa under certain conduction and locations. Cover crop choice is a matter of field level land use goals and regional crop suitability. The Midwest Cover Croup Council has a tool that can help farmers make cover crop selection choices: http://www.mccc.msu.edu/selectorintro.html 2 Establishment and management of cover crops will vary depending on initial conditions, soil, previous cropping system, and practice design (including choice of crop, planting and termination).

    Cost Activities 2 Year cost

    incurred

    Range of costs (units)

    Mean price (ac)

    Notes Data Sources

    Seed cost - Planting option 1 aerial

    0 $0.20 - $0.40/lbs $36 120 lbs per acre seeding rate. There are a number of regional seed companies that feature seeds for cover crops of all kinds.

    Seed cost – Planting option 2 broadcast

    0 $0.20 - $0.40/lbs $30 100 lbs per acre seeding rate. There are a number of regional seed companies that feature seeds for cover crops of all kinds.

    Planting cost option 1 - aerial 0

    $7.50 to $16.00/ acre $11.00

    Typical aerial Seeding Rate: 83-150 lb./Ac PLS.

    Seeding rate: http://mccc.msu.edu/states/Iowa.html; Cost information: Plastina and Johanns (2016):

    Planting cost option 2 - broadcast

    0 $8.00 to $15.00/acre $12.25 Typical broadcast Seeding Rate: 69-125 lb./A PLS.

    Seeding rate: http://mccc.msu.edu/states/Iowa.html; Cost information: Plastina and Johanns (2016): Seed drilling is also an option and costs on average ~ $17.00 per acre.

    Cover termination - herbicide

    0 Variable $18.43

    Glyphosate: $18.70/ gal.; AMS: $0.35/lb.; Nonionic surfactant: $26/gal; Application: $7.23/acre = 64 oz. glyphosate + 2.5 lb. AMS + 4.8 oz. NIS = Total: $18.43/acre.

    Cost data modified from: Holmes 2014 http://www.agribizshowcase.com/wp- content/uploads/2012/02/Cover-Crops-in-Iowa-Holmes.pdf; Glyphosate cost estimate: http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Iowa/Publicatio ns/Prices/reports/IA_PRICESPAID_04_14.pdf

    Cover termination - disking

    0 $8.00 to $25.50/ acre $16.75

    Cover crop termination by disking could involve 2 + passes, yet one pass is likely to occur regardless of the presence of cover crops so only one pass is counted here.

    Cost data: Plastina and Johanns (2016)

    Increased crop management 0 Variable Variable

    Increased Management cost is a general category; includes extra time spent: walking fields to assess cover crop progress, adjusting equipment, etc. Assumed to be 3% of establishment & Mgt cost.

    General management information from The Iowa Learning Farm: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/content/cover- crop-resources

    Impacts on crop yield 0 Variable --

    Based on Iowa field trials, the impact of cereal rye on corn and bean yields is assumed to be negligible.

    Yield trial data: Iowa Learning Farms & PFI 2014