Farming Forward: Digging into the economics of cover crops

Randy Tkachyk, who farms at Sundown, MB

Putting cover crops to work on Randy Tkachyk’s farm means keeping soil covered, growing winter feed for cattle, and providing grazing opportunities for those cattle well in to the fall.

Tkachyk grows a diverse cover crop mix on his farm near Sundown, Man., as a means to manage risk against the growing season. A 15-way mix, he says, means that there will always be species that do well, no matter what the weather does. It can be costly, at $75/acre, but he adds no fertility, and is pleased with how much feed the cover provides.

There are additional costs to putting in the crop, such as fuel to work the ground and seed it, and Tkachyk says the feed value is the immediate benefit, but there are longer-term benefits to the soil that are harder to calculate in a cost/benefit analysis.

In this episode of Farming Forward, Tkachyk takes RealAgriculture’s Kelvin Heppner for a farm tour while discussing the economics of cover cropping.

Farming Forward is a video series brought to you by Farmers for Climate Solutions’ Farm Resilience Mentorship Program and the Farm Learning Hub. Visit the hub to learn more about events in your area and to access more resources about building soil health.

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