Cover Cropping Adoption Reaches New High Among Strip-Tillers

Cereal rye remains most popular variety, while drilling in covers is most popular method and post-harvest seeding is preferred timing.

Results of the 6th Annual Strip-Till Operational Practices Benchmark study, evaluating 2018 cropping practices, underscored strip-tillers’ stability in an unstable ag market. More than 200 farmers from 23 states who identified themselves as strip-tillers responded to the 45-question survey from Strip-Till Farmer.

In the following pages — and also within the pages of Strip-Till Farmer’s Summer 2019 issue and online at — we compare and contrast equipment setups, berm-building preferences, nutrient management strategies and more that strip-tillers are putting to work on their operation.

Cover cropping has long been a staple within no-till systems, with nearly 79% of respondents to the 2019 No-Till Operational Practices study indicating they seed cover crops. However, cover cropping in strip-till has seen dramatic gains in recent years.

Some 62% of strip-tillers indicated they seeded covers in 2018, a new high. This marked a nearly 6-point increase over 2017 and 14-point bump over the 2014 total.

Comparing different types of cover crops, seeding methods and timing among no-tillers and strip-tillers, cereal rye is by far the most popular variety for both. Some 78% of strip-tillers and 73% of no-tillers seeded cereal rye in 2018. The biggest variation was in use of clover, with about 38% of no-tillers seeding the cover compared to just 26% of strip-tillers.

Drilling in covers was the most popular seeding method, preferred by 58% of no-tillers and 45% of strip-tillers. Some 26% of strip-tillers preferred spreading cover crops, which represented the largest year-over-year increase from 2017 (19%). Also on…

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Jack Zemlicka

Jack Zemlicka was the Technology Editor for No-Till Farmer. His coverage included precision farming practices, products and trends, which can improve efficiency and productivity for no-till farmers.

He joined Lessiter Publications Ag Division in 2012 and also served as managing editor of Strip-Till Farmer.

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