Cumulative impact of cover crops on soil carbon sequestration and profitability in a temperate humid climate

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The impact of long-term cover cropping on soil carbon storage and farm economics hasn’t been thoroughly studied. A cover crop experiment established in Ridgetown, ON found that cover crops increased soil organic carbon content by 10–20 Mg C ha−1 compared to the no-cover crop control after nine years. Cover crops also reduced yield variability, suggesting that cover crops may contribute to agroecosystem resiliency. Profit margins were greater with cover crops in processing vegetable crops, but not grain and oilseed crops. Cover crop usage in grain and oilseed crops might be overcome by pricing carbon at $50 Mg−1 on quantity of C sequestered and may be a mechanism to encourage CC adoption.

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