Planting green, a practice in which farmers plant cash crop seeds directly into a live cover crop, seems to be an increasingly popular practice, anecdotally speaking. While No-Till Farmer didn’t ask about the practice in previous benchmark surveys, with our 13th Annual No-Till Operational Benchmark Survey, 42% of respondents said they were doing the practice on their operation. The acreage on which it is being practiced varied widely, from an experimental 2 acres at the low end to an aggressive 3,000 acres at the top end.

In a recent web poll, we asked growers who are planning to plant green in 2021 how they intend to do it. While the sample size was smaller than the benchmark survey, 53% said they plan to plant green with a burndown after planting; 21% intend to use a burndown ahead of planting; 12% will use a combination of a burndown and a roller-crimper pass; 7% will use a roller-crimper pass after planting; 4% will use a roller-crimper pass before planting; and 3% said “other.”

Growers have multiple reasons for using cover crops, of course, and in a previous 2020 web poll, readers shared the following goals they’re trying to achieve with covers.

cover crop goals chart