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Demographic and Management Factors Affecting the Perceived Benefit of Winter Cover Crops in the Southeast

Listed author(s):
  • Bergtold, Jason S.
  • Duffy, Patricia A.
  • Hite, Diane
  • Raper, Randy L.

The inclusion of cover crops in cropping systems brings both direct and indirect costs and benefits. Farmers will adopt and continue to utilize cover crops in their production systems as long as the perceived benefit of using cover crops (e.g. increased yield, higher profits, and improved soil productivity) is positive. The perceived benefits, while partially based on actual changes, may be influenced by demographic, economic and management factors. The purpose of this paper is to examine the demographic and management factors affecting the perceived benefit, in terms of improved crop yield, of using winter annual cover crops. A tobit model is estimated using survey data of Alabama farmers examining cover crop use and management. The model examines the potential effect of different agronomic, demographic and management factors on the perceived yield gain from using winter cover crops of Alabama row crop producers. Estimation results indicated that growing peanuts, growing soybeans, high debt, high gross farm sales, use of conservation tillage, increased application of N to the cash crop after a legume cover crop, and applying N to the cover crop had a positive and statistically significant impact on farmers’ perceived yield gain from using a cover crop. In contrast, number of years farming, farm size, and high cover crop costs had a negative and statistically significant impact on farmers’ perceived yield gain from using a cover crop. Understanding the perceived benefits of using winter cover crops and the factors that shape these perceptions can provide insight into the decision making process farmers make in deciding to adopt and/or retain the use of cover crops on their farm.

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Paper provided by American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) in its series 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida with number 6424.

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Date of creation: 2008
Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea08:6424
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  1. Soule, Meredith J., 2001. "Soil Management And The Farm Typology: Do Small Family Farms Manage Soil And Nutrient Resources Differently Than Large Family Farms?," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 30(2), October.
  2. Luzar, E. Jane & Diagne, Assane, 1999. "Participation in the next generation of agriculture conservation programs: the role of environmental attitudes," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 335-349.
  3. Meredith J. Soule & Abebayehu Tegene & Keith D. Wiebe, 2000. "Land Tenure and the Adoption of Conservation Practices," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(4), pages 993-1005.
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  5. Larson, James A. & Roberts, Roland K. & Tyler, Donald D. & Duck, Bob N. & Slinsky, Stephen P., 1998. "Nitrogen-Fixing Winter Cover Crops and Production Risk: A Case Study for No-Tillage Corn," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(01), pages 163-174, July.
  6. Soule, Meredith J., 2001. "Soil Management and the Farm Typology: Do Small Family Farms Manage Soil and Nutrient Resources Differently than Large Family Farms?," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(02), pages 179-188, October.
  7. Lichtenberg, Erik, 2004. "Cost-Responsiveness of Conservation Practice Adoption: A Revealed Preference Approach," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 29(03), December.
  8. Roberts, Roland K. & Larson, James A. & Tyler, Donald D. & Duck, Bob N. & Dillivan, Kim D., 1997. "Economic Analysis of the Effects of Winter Cover Crops on No-Tillage Corn Yield Response to Fertilizer Nitrogen," 1997 Annual Meeting, July 13-16, 1997, Reno\Sparks, Nevada 35851, Western Agricultural Economics Association.
  9. Brian W. Gould & William E. Saupe & Richard M. Klemme, 1989. "Conservation Tillage: The Role of Farm and Operator Characteristics and the Perception of Soil Erosion," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 65(2), pages 167-185.
  10. Jaenicke, Edward C. & Frechette, Darren L. & Larson, James A., 2003. "Estimating Production Risk and Inefficiency Simultaneously: An Application to Cotton Cropping Systems," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 28(03), December.
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