Monday, July 27, 2015

The Many benefits of Cover Crops

The 2015 Cover Crop Survey was recently released, it reports on the growers using cover crops and the effects that cover crops have on the productivity of the land.  A quick rundown of the numbers:
  • 1,229 farmers answered the online survey
  • 47 states represented in the results
  • 84% of respondents have planted cover crops
  • 3.66 more bushels per acre of corn after planting cover crops
  • 2.19 more bushels per acre of soybean after planting cover crops
  • 92% of producers who do not plant cover crops would be motivated to plant if there were economic incentives
  • 300 acres is the average expected acreage of cover crop planting for 2015
  • 84% of cover crops planted were cereal grains and grasses
Cereal rye (Secale cereale) is the most common cereal grain or grass planted as a cover crop.  Image by Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California - Davis,

Benefits of cover crops:
  • Increased yield
  • Increased organic matter
  • Improvement of soil health
  • Improved weed control
  • Reduced erosion
To learn more about the motivations of cover crop users and other information resulting from this survey: 2015 Cover Crop Survey
For a summarized report: 2015 Cover Crop Survey Analysis
Need help figuring out what cover crop to plant: USDA Cover Crop Chart