While less than 2% of America’s cropland is seeded to cover crops, a remarkable 77% of no-tillers enjoy the many benefits offered by protecting the soil over the winter months.
Results from last spring’s ninth annual No-Till Operational Benchmark Study of No-Till Farmer readers indicates cover crop usage among no-tillers continues to rise. Over the past 2 years, an additional 7% of NTF readers have started using cover crops.
Today’s excitement, hype and growing cover crop popularity are nothing new for no-tillers. This compares with growers still using other tillage systems who are just now jumping on the cover crop and soil health bandwagon. Years ago, no-tillers saw the erosion control, economic advantages, soil health, weed control and other benefits of seeding cover crops — long before the practice became popular.
Evidence of the cover crop benefits that no-tillers have enjoyed for years is found in data from the first No-Till Farmer Benchmark survey conducted in 2009. At that time, 49% of no-tillers were seeding cover crops, a figure that has grown to 77% over the past 8 years. Here is some other eye-popping data: