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Ray Massey Commercial Ag Program Crops Economist.

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Presentation on theme: "Ray Massey Commercial Ag Program Crops Economist."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ray Massey Commercial Ag Program Crops Economist

2  I cannot give an answer of whether or not growing cover crops are a good economic decision!  What I can give  Discussion of valuation of benefits  Discussion of costs to consider  A few interesting anecdotes on growing cover crops.

3  reduce soil erosion,  increase water infiltration,  decrease water runoff,  conserve soil water,  increase soil organic matter,  reduce soil compaction,  reduce nitrate leaching,  supply nitrogen to subsequent crops,  suppress weeds,  attract beneficial insects, and  other functions

4  How much does a ton of soil not eroded contribute to my net income?  How much does an acre-inch of rainwater saved contribute to my net income?  How much does 1000 lady bugs attracted to my field contribute to my net income?  How much does a pound of nitrogen supplied to subsequent crops contribute to my net income?

5  Nitrogen saved or fixed from a cover crop that reduces my fertilizer bill on the next crop.  Any harvestable material such as silage or grazing.  Process: quantify the benefit and multiply it times the market price of the item.

6  Soil not lost eventually prevents my ground from losing crop productivity.  Increased water infiltration helps me in most years – maybe not  Increased organic matter may improve crop yields or lower input costs.  Process –  No market prices exist to use  incorporate risk analysis and discount future contributions to today

7  Attract beneficial insects that I later kill with my insecticide.  Reduce nitrate leaching (considering leaching for leaching sake as opposed to saving N for subsequent crop)  Process: ignore or seek an incentive that makes the benefit worthwhile.

8  An internal benefit is something that benefits the person making the decision.  Reducing soil erosion is good because it makes my land more productive and valuable.  An external benefit is something that does not directly benefit the decision maker.  Reducing soil erosion is good because it improves fish habitat and reduces municipal water treatment costs.

9  Negative Externality – when the decision maker imposes a cost on someone else  Positive Externality – when a decision maker bestows a benefit on someone else.  External benefits (reducing soil erosion) are considered negative externalities by society (pollute the stream with soil).

10  Regulation – force the decision maker to manage in such a way that the cost is not imposed on society.  Subsidy – incentivize the decision maker so that he voluntarily chooses to manage in such a way that the cost is not imposed on society.

11  Practice 340: Cover Crop  USDA specifies  what cover crops to plant  The cover crop plant planting window  The cover crop growing period  Incentive: $38/acre

12  Seed - Rye Grass: 9 lb/ac * $79/cwt = $7.11/ac  Planting cost = $13.00/ac  Subtotal$20.11/ac  Burndown (needed anyway) = $0.00  Burndown (cover crop specific) = $15.00  The $38/acre EQIP subsidy may completely pay for the cover crop

13  Definite costs:  Seed purchase  Planting expense  Possible costs  Fertilizer?  Herbicide burn down or disking?  Delays in planting due to cover crop?  Other?

14 Tim Harrigan Michigan State University

15 Oil seed radish Annual rye grass SlurrySlurryNo-tillNo-tillSlurrySlurryNo-tillNo-till Tim Harrigan Michigan State University

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17 Source: J.W. Singer, J.L. Kovar, C.A. Cambardella, M.D. Tomer and T.B. Moorman. USDA National Soil Tilth Lab.

18 Ray Massey Commercial Ag Program Crops Economist


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