Costs & Benefits of Winter Cover Cropping

Winter cover cropping has proven soil health benefits, but requires time and money. Unsure if the investment would be profitable for you? We comprehensively catalogued and monetized the costs and benefits associated with the adoption of cover crops in a typical California almond orchard and processing tomato operation. We then developed an interactive benefit-cost calculator so that you can adjust the values to match your operation.


Benefits and costs of adoption were estimated on a per-acre basis.


We took the net present value over 10 and 30 year time horizons.

Test it yourself

This interactive calculator allows you to adjust values to fit your operation.

Additional Resources

This USDA NRCS Conservation Webinar led by Alyssa DeVincentis explains the research behind this calculator.

Listen to this episode of the Growing the Valley podcast hosted by Pheobe Gordon, a UC Orchards Systems Advisor for Madera and Merced Counties.

Our research article provides an in-depth description of our methodology and shares insights on winter cover crops for both farmers and policy makers.


A group of University of California scientists designed this calculator. If you have questions or suggestions to improve the usability, please fill out this form. We would love to hear your feedback!