A recent survey of over 2,000 farmers showed increasing support for cover crops and found higher yields for the fourth year in a row for corn and soybean fields after using cover crops. The American Seed Trade Association says multi-year data shows increasing yields as cover crops are planted year after year. Farmers surveyed said their use of cover crops has grown steadily, averaging just under 300 acres per farm in 2015, and projected use will grow to 339 acres per farm this year. Corn yields rose 3.4 bushels per acre after using cover crops, and soybean yields increased 1.5 bushels per acre. Data showed the corn yields jumped 8.3 bushels per acre after cover crops were used four consecutive seasons, and soybean yields pushed up 2.4 bushels per acre the same time period. The Seed Trade Association news release pointed out those numbers reflect good growing years. Cover crops really show their worth in challenging years. They help soils improve their capacity to hold more moisture and water infiltration improves. That can minimize cash crop loss due to stress. Cover crops also reduce soil erosion, improve soil health, and increase organic matter in the soil.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.