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2019-2020 Cover Crop Survey

By nearly any account, 2019 was a brutal year for many American farmers. The year started with heavy snow cover and continued with the wettest spring on record in many areas, delaying planting across vast stretches of the country for weeks. This year’s national cover crop survey by USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, Conservation Technology Information Center, and American Seed Trade Association explored farmers’ experiences with cover crops in those especially challenging circumstances. This year, we dug deep into “planting green,” the practice of seeding a cash crop into a live cover crop and letting both grow simultaneously for a length of time. About half reported that they had planted green somewhere on their operation, which may have been motivated in part by an effort to better manage wet spring soils. Of the farmers planting green, 68% reported better soil moisture management.

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