In conventional systems, starter fertilizer applications may be used for cover crop establishment, with herbicides applications used for cover crop termination. In organic systems, cover crops may be terminated by rolling with a roller-crimper or mowing with a flail-mower (Baggs et al., 2003). In both conventional and organic systems, cover crops are often flail-mowed to aid in incorporation. The NRCS publishes cover crop termination guidelines for non-irrigated cropland (including fallow periods) with lots of useful information. Check the USDA Risk Management Agency website for the current Cover Crop Termination Guidelines.
Cover crop seed, planting, and land preparation costs vary widely. Refer to survey results from the SARE National Cover Crop Survey for recent cover crop economic trends. Based primarily on data gathered through five years of national cover crop surveys, Cover Crop Economics: Opportunities to Improve Your Bottom Line in Row Crops is a resource that explores the economics of cover crops in corn and soybean rotations. A cost study, Estimated Costs for a Winter Cover Crops in an Annual Crop Rotation, examines the costs and potential benefits of a cover crop in the lower Sacramento Valley in California. For some systems, the costs can be minor compared to costs associated with conventional management of winter fallows (Kallenbach et al., 2010; Light et al., 2022).