Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Wallace E Tyner

Committee Member 1

Juan P Sesmero

Committee Member 2

Eileen J Kladivko


Soil erosion and soil compaction can cause a decline in crop productivity and have harmful impacts on the environment. These concerns have raised awareness around the concept of sustainable production. Cover crops are crops that are grown in between cash crop growing seasons for their agronomic and environmental benefits. Researchers have proven the ability of cover crops to reduce soil erosion, reduce soil compaction, increase soil fertility, control weeds and possibly increase cash crop yields. Albeit their numerous benefits, incorporating cover crops into farming systems carry additional costs in terms of time and labor management. In the Midwest, the number of farmers using cover crops is minimal because they perceive the costs to be greater than the benefits. Therefore, the primary objective of this study was to quantify the benefits and costs of cover crops in the Midwest.