What is a cover crop worth? Cover crops in Australian vegetable systems

This case study outlines the economic considerations when using cover crops in vegetable production systems. It is based on lessons learned from several Soil Wealth – ICP demonstration sites, during the period 2014 to 2016.

One of the most important considerations is being clear about the purpose of using cover crops in the farm system system as it influences the way you may judge costs and benefits and the timing of these.

“Practices like cover cropping, using compost and using reduced tillage can increase or maintain soil organic matter. This builds long term resilience. In the long term you can’t add that out of a bag. There is no substitute for long term resilience.” - Marc Hinderager, Agronomist.

The overall benefits will depend on each situation. However, to figure out what works for you on your farm and a specific purpose, talk to others who have used cover crops for a similar purpose / situation; trial cover crops or include a test strip if possible.