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Remote Sensing to Monitor Cover Crop Adoption in Southern Pennsylvania

In the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, winter cereal cover crops are often planted in rotation with summer crops to reduce the loss of nutrients and sediment from agricultural systems. Cover crops can also improve soil health, control weeds and pests, supplement forage needs, and support resilient cropping systems. In southeastern Pennsylvania, cover crops can be successfully established following corn silage harvest and are strongly promoted for use in this niche. This study used Landsat and SPOT satellite imagery, in combination with the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Cropland Data Layer, to evaluate the extent and amount of green wintertime vegetation on agricultural fields in four Pennsylvania counties from 2010 to 2013.

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