After 4 days of intensive interest in no-till and cover crops at the mid-January 25th anniversary National No-Tillage Conference, it was encouraging to recognize interest in cover crops continues to grow.
The results of the recently released 2015-16 Cover Crop Survey, compiled by the Conservation Technology Information Center and Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education, confirm this. Data from over 2,000 growers, crop consultants and other ag professionals indicates cover crop usage continues to grow and is not impacted by commodity prices.
Some 81% of surveyed growers have used cover crops. Nearly one-third believe cover crops have increased profitability compared to 6% who felt covers decreased in profits.
Some 35% of respondents were in a continuous no-till program while 17% did rotational no-tillage. Another 6% were doing vertical tillage, 23% reduced tillage and 19% were still doing conventional tillage.
Two-thirds felt cover crops play a key role in reducing yield variability with cash crops during extreme weather events.
Cereal rye was the leading cover crop species used, with 82% growers seeding it, followed by radishes and winter wheat.
Some 82% say cereal rye helped reduce weed problems and 26% say it improved control of troublesome herbicide-resistant weeds.
About 78% have increased their use of cover-crop mixes over the years. Only 5% have decreased the use of mixes.
For the fourth year in a row, growers reported yield increases with both corn and soybeans following cover crops. Yields for corn grown after cover crops averaged 180.2 bushels per…