The Impacts of Non-Legume Cover Crop Use on Crop Yields and Profit Margins in Ontario

Mayers, Danielle
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University of Guelph

Cover crops are widely discussed in academic literature prompting the use of government payments to increase their use. However, without knowledge of the private net benefits of cover crops on yield and profits, the policy tools used may be ineffective and create barriers to adoption. Knowledge about the private net benefits justifies government incentives and can inform adoption decisions. This thesis addresses this gap by evaluating the impacts of four non-legume cover crops on yield and profit margin ratios in Ontario using data from a long-term cover crop experiment. ANOVA and regression analyses were used to isolate the effect of the tested cover crops. The results demonstrated significant heterogeneity in the cover crop effects depending on the cash crop type, i.e. distinguishing the effects on grain and oilseed crops compared to vegetable crops. The heterogeneity found should be reflected in the policy options for increasing cover crop use.

cover crop effects, Ontario, grain and oilseed crops, vegetable crops, crop experiment, economic analysis, yields, profit margins