Corn belt assessment of cover crop management and preferences

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Courtesy of Soil Science Society of America

Surveying end-users about their use of technologies and preferences provides information for researchers and educators to develop relevant research and educational programs. A mail survey was sent to Corn Belt farmers during 2006 to quantify cover crop management and preferences. Results indicated that the dominant cereal cover crops in Indiana and Illinois are winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and cereal rye (Secale cereale L.), cereal rye and oat (Avena sativa L.) in Iowa, and oat in Minnesota. Legumes were used more frequently in Indiana and Illinois, and red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) was the dominant choice across the region. Farmers relied solely on herbicides 54% of the time to kill cover crops. Ninety-three percent of respondents indicated that they received no cost sharing for using cover crops and 14% indicated that they would plant cover crops on rented land. Corn Belt farmers prefer cover crops that overwinter (68%) and fix N (64%). The information provided in this survey supplements existing knowledge that can be used to develop relevant research and educational programs to address agronomic production systems that include cover crops.

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