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Reducing Erosion, Improving Water Infiltration Push Cover Crop Adoption

Exclusive survey reveals cover cropping trends through 2022, including increasing acreage planted to covers, the top benefits farmers gain from covers and multiple methods for seeding them.

Farmers across the nation participated in the 3rd annual Cover Crop Benchmark Study published by Cover Crop Strategies. The comprehensive survey featured 48 questions about topics including management practices, motivations and expenses in 2021 and plans for 2022

“Over the past few years, we’ve been able to track meaningful changes in cover crop management that allows growers to compare their own operation to those of their peers across the country,” says No-Till Farmer editor Frank Lessiter. “No other media property has a more in-depth understanding of the challenges and opportunities with cover crops on farms than we do. And we’re grateful that so many farmers have chosen to participate.”

The average number of cover crop acreage per respondent was 544, with individual totals ranging from 5,500 to 0.5. The survey revealed noteworthy changes in management practices, strategies, and expenses, painting a more vivid picture of cover cropping trends through 2022. In the following pages, we’ll break down the results and share perspective from cover crop users and analysts.   

Maximum Benefit is Erosion Prevention

Participants were asked to rank the level of benefits seen from cover crops in their operation. Options included no benefit, some benefit and maximum benefit. 20.5% ranked erosion prevention as a maximum benefit. Improved rainfall infiltration was second with 11.9%, and better soil biological activity third with 10.9%. These results go hand in hand with erosion prevention being selected as the most important reason (18%) for seeding covers. 

Ryan Gibbs, of Gibbsfield Ag, sells cover crop seeds…

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Noah newman web

Noah Newman

Noah Newman started at Lessiter Media in March 2022 as Associate Editor for No-Till FarmerStrip-Till Farmer and Cover Crop Strategies. He previously worked in broadcast journalism as a sports anchor/reporter for television stations in central Illinois and most recently Jackson, Mississippi, where he was named the state’s sportscaster of the year by the National Sports Media Association. The Cleveland, Ohio, native looks forward to engaging with growers, learning extensively about their operations, and sharing impactful stories with the audience.

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