Cover crops: Are your acres covered?
Cover crop survey is now available for farmers to make sure their acres are counted.
Cover crop usage in the modern era has centered on erosion control and water quality protection. Historically, we know that they were used for many other reasons but as things have changed the practice of using cover crops has diminished. In the last few years we have seen resurgence in cover crop acres. Farmers are looking at ways they can reduce fertilizer and pest control costs as well as build soil health. Cover crops have proven to fill that niche.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) tracks commodity acres in the U.S. and unfortunately there is no good data on cover crop usage. Over the years estimates for cover crop acres have been lumped with other uses such as lands left idle and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres. This has hindered good information on trends of cover crop adoption. One of the avenues that industries, organizations and universities use to assess the impact of cover crops , estimate acres and to levy support for grants for research and cost share is to survey cover crop users.
Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) along with commodity groups and other interested organizations put together a survey that can be used to promote and to better understand cover crop decisions and impacts on your farm. If you use cover crops or are planning on using them please consider taking the brief survey.
If you would like more information on how to implement cover crops on your operation contact Christina Curell or Paul Gross. For information on specific cover crop issues visit the Midwest Cover Crop Council website or the Michigan State University Cover Crop website.