Case Studies Show Financial Benefits of Precision Ag, No-Till and Cover Crops

Critics of proven conservation practices like no-till, strip-till or cover crop seeding often complain there’s no evidence of material benefits to a farmer’s bottom line — that the only thing that matters is yield.

But three different no-tillers from Iowa, Kansas and Ohio recently opened their books to illustrate how no-till and strip-till, cover crops, precision technology and refined nutrient management pays off in a big way.

Released in late 2018, the report, Farm Finance and Conservation, resulted from a collaboration between the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the agriculture managerial accounting firm K·Coe Isom AgKnowledge and farmers Scott Henry, Justin Knopf and Joshua Yoder.

It analyzes the impact of conservation on farm budgets by combining the farmers’ own records with their experience in adopting conservation practices. The cases show how they made conservation work financially and share lessons they’ve learned in the process of adopting conservation practices.


No-Till Takeaways

  • Compile and study precision ag data from your farm, as it provides a feedback loop to help fine-tune conservation practices.
  • Cover crops don’t have to be expensive. Seed just a single species or a few of them and you can still get tangible benefits.
  • Herbicide costs could increase with no-till, but adding cover crops can reduce weed pressure. Keep interactions between conservation practices in mind.

LongView Farms embraces precision agriculture technology to most efficiently use fuel and crop inputs. The information generated by this technology measures the cost and efficiency of production practices and allows no-tiller Scott Henry to adapt…

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John Dobberstein

John Dobberstein is senior editor of No-Till Farmer magazine and the e-newsletter Dryland No-TillerHe previously covered agriculture for the Tulsa World and worked for daily newspapers in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Joseph, Mich. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism and political science from Central Michigan University.

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