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, […]

Cover Crop Adoption in Iowa: The Role of Perceived Practice Characteristics

Cover crops are widely viewed by the soil and water conservation community to be an effective means for reducing soil erosion and nutrient loss and increasing soil health, yet relatively few farmers have adopted the practice. Despite the widespread recognition of cover crops’ benefits and increased promotional efforts, there have been very few peer-reviewed studies […]

Multispecies Cover Cropping Promotes Soil Health in No-Tillage Cropping Systems of North Carolina

Moving agricultural production systems toward a greater level of soil health is needed for sustainability. Conservation agricultural systems utilizing no or minimum tillage are an important step forward, but enhancing carbon (C) inputs with diverse cover crops and facilitating biologically active nitrogen (N) cycling are also needed. Summer cash-crop systems, particularly in the warm-humid region […]

Farmer Interest in and Willingness to Grow Pennycress as an Energy Feedstock

Pennycress can be used as a renewable biomass because its harvested seeds can be converted into biofuel, supplying, for example the aviation industry. Pennycress can be adopted as a winter cover crop to make extra profit in addition to summer cash crops. This study ascertains influences on row crop farmers’ interest in growing pennycress to […]

Cover Crop Trends, Programs, and Practices in the United States

On U.S. cropland, the use of cover crops increased by 50 percent between 2012 and 2017. During this same period, Federal and State conservation programs increased efforts to promote cover crops through financial and technical assistance. When farmers introduce cover crops into a crop rotation, there can be important on farm benefits for the farmers […]

Increased Productivity of a Cover Crop Mixture us not Associated with Enhanced Agroecosystem Services

Cover crops provide a variety of important agroecological services within cropping systems. Typically, these crops are grown as monocultures or simple graminoid-legume bicultures; however, ecological theory and empirical evidence suggest that agroecosystem services could be enhanced by growing cover crops in species-rich mixtures. We examined cover crop productivity, weed suppression, stability, and carryover effects to […]

Opportunities to Improve Your Bottom Line in Row Crops

With the decision to adopt cover crops, a conservation practice that is becoming increasingly popular throughout the country, the economic picture can admittedly be hard to decipher at first. This is because a simple, one-year budget analysis of cover crops, one that just compares the cost of seed and seeding to the impact on the […]

2012-2013 Cover Crop Survey

In late 2012 and early 2013, the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) conducted a survey of farmers who grow cover crops. The 2012 crop year was a challenging one in which to study yield impacts – much of the U.S. was impacted by drought, […]

2013-2014 Cover Crop Survey

In the first few months of 2014, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) conducted a national survey of farmers about the use of cover crops. The nationwide, online survey was a follow-up to a smaller survey the previous year conducted by CTIC and SARE at several […]

2014-2015 Cover Crop Survey

This document summarizes information collected from more than 1,200 farmers across the United States who completed an online survey on cover crops in early 2015. A large majority of respondents (84%) planted cover crops; 16% have not. The report sheds light on farmers’ motivations for planting cover crops, their expectations of the benefits of the […]

2015-2016 Cover Crop Survey

The fourth annual SARE/CTIC Cover Crop Survey collected data from 2,020 respondents from 48 states and the District of Columbia. Eighty-one percent described themselves as cover crop users. Their plantings of cover crops charted a steady rise since 2010, and projected plantings in the summer of 2016 were expected to continue the trend, despite a […]