Cover Crop Seed Availability Hinders Cover Crop Adoption by Agricultural Producers

As more aggressive action has been taken to confront the climate crisis under the Biden Administration, environmental sustainability issues have become more relevant. Interest in the value of cover crops as a means to preserve and improve cropland has continually increased. Cover crop use has once again been on the rise (2017 Census of Agriculture) as our producers continually seek a balance between environmental and financial sustainability. Among the challenges reported by producers, cover crop seed availability is an issue. Many producers have also said cover crop seed costs are too high and that the additional cost of planting and managing a cover crop stymies cover crop adoption.

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service conducted a cover crop survey with cotton, corn, and peanut producers throughout Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, from January 28, 2021, to March 31, 2021. Figure 1 illustrates the cost of cover crop seed based on the number of species in the cover crop blend. The average seed cost of single specie cover crops was $23.53 per acre, and for multi-species cover crops, it was $25.88 per acre. Most producers using cover crop monoculture indicate their seed cost ranges from $10 to $19 per acre. For mixed cover crops, there is more of a spread in the responses, with the $20-$29 range being the most common. [READ MORE]