A recent survey from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) found that farmers' top motivation for adopting no-till and other conservation tillage practices is knowing they will be able to follow their plan successfully.
The NASS and the Natural Resources Conservation Service surveyed about 34,000 producers between May and September 2022. Of that number, about 84% said they had implemented conservation tillage practices, the second-highest reported conservation practice.
About 75% of growers said their top motivation for adjusting tillage practices was "confidence in following plan successfully." About 70% of growers said they anticipated saving time or effort by adjusting tillage. These were the top two motivational factors reported by the surveyed farmers. Other USDA research shows that growers using conservation practices favor no-till for some crops, like wheat and soybeans, over corn.
About 59% of growers said they were using cover crops. The growers on average said about 40% of their cropland was seeded to covers. About 75% of growers said confidence was the top motivation for employing cover crops. About 59% said they were motivated by the benefit of cover cropping exceeding the cost.
The most common conservation practice implemented was irrigation management and systems improvement, which 90% of growers said they implemented. Growers said they used irrigation and system improvements on 91% of their acreage.
The study is the part of a larger project looking at conservation practices with respects to their motivations.