Cover cropping and reduced tillage practices have been steadily gaining popularity among Wisconsin farms with goals of reducing erosion, adding species diversity to cropping systems, and capturing or retaining nutrients in the field.
This tool is intended to capture a snapshot of the immediate financial expenses and income that a farm may experience in using practices such as cover cropping and reduced tillage, particularly in grain crop systems. This tool is NOT designed to assess the long-term financial impacts of implementing soil health practices, such as erosion, soil organic matter, nutrient cycling, etc.
To learn more about the long-term impacts of soil health practices, we encourage you to explore other resources and tools that provide additional information.
- Why Cover Crops, UW-Madison, Crops and Soils Extension
- Soil Health Matrix Decision Tool
- USDA NRCS: Soil Health in WI
A note on N credit for cover crops
One of the many benefits offered by adding a legume cover crop to your system is the potential for an N credit and a reduced need for purchased N inputs. For more information about choosing an appropriate value for your N credit, we recommend the following resources:
- Late Summer Planting Legumes to Produce Nitrogen Credits for Next Year an Extension publication from Dan Undersander and Carrie Laboski. Includes information about how to calculate N credits and some species-specific information for common legume cover crop options.
- Estimating an N-Credit from Legume Cover Crops Practical Farmers of Iowa article discussing considerations for planning and using legume cover crops
- Nutrient Application Guidelines for Field, Vegetable, and Fruit Crops in Wisconsin (A2809) an Extension publication provides nutrient application guidelines, including recommendations for N crediting.