Cover Crops Boost Yields and Weed Control, National Farmer Survey Says

Following the use of cover crops, farmers reported increased yields of corn, soybeans and wheat, and improved control of herbicide-resistant weeds, according to a nationwide survey. In addition, the survey of 2,012 farmers showed acreage planted in cover crops has nearly doubled over the past five years.

Survey participants—88 percent of whom use cover crops—reported that after cover crops:

  • Corn yields increased an average of 2.3 bushels per acre, or 1.3 percent;
  • Soybean yields increased 2.1 bushels per acre, or 3.8 percent;
  • Wheat yields increased 1.9 bushels per acre, or 2.8 percent.

A full summary and the complete 2017 Cover Crop Survey Report are available online at: www.sare.org/2017CoverCropSurvey Continue reading

SARE discusses cover crop survey results tomorrow in webinar

Tomorrow at noon EDT representatives from SARE, Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) will host a media call following the rollout of the 2017 cover crop survey report. This marks the fifth consecutive year of the national survey which asks farmers about their views and experiences with cover crops.

Join us to hear about key findings from this survey of 2,012 farmers and to participate in a Q&A with survey organizers. Continue reading

Intercropping boosts vegetable production

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife

The old ways could be the best ways when it comes to small-acreage vegetable production, according to a newly published article available through the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

Dr. Jose Franco, a U.S. Department of Agriculture Agriculture Research Service agroecologist, Mandan, North Dakota, conducted the two-year study of intercropping at the Texas A&M University Horticulture Farm in Bryan for his doctoral dissertation under the guidance of Dr. Astrid Volder, former Texas A&M University faculty and current University of California at Davis plant physiologist; Dr. Stephen King, a former professor and vegetable breeder with Texas A&M department of horticultural sciences, College Station; and Dr. Joe Masabni, AgriLife Extension small acreage horticulturist, Overton.  Continue reading

More mature cover crops help maintain residue longer

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Often producers planting cover crops are worried about moisture use, but more important is the longevity of the crop residue and its beneficial results, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist.

Dr. Paul DeLaune, an AgriLife Research environmental soil scientist at Vernon, said when he talks about the residue management of cover crops, one question he always gets concerns termination timing and the use of soil moisture by the cover crop. Continue reading

Efficient use of cover crops reduces pests and pesticides

In Corn and Soybean Digest

When transitioning to cover crops, go for encouraging diversity while adopting practices that protect beneficials, but do it with a plan in place, says entomologist Jonathan Lundgren.

  • Monitor cover crops and production crops alike for pests and beneficials.
  • Don’t overreact. Seeing a pest in the field doesn’t mean you have to kill it! In fact that may be a bad business decision.
  • Don’t ignore pests found either. Evaluate for economic thresholds, treat with pest specific products if possible and time application for maximum effectiveness in the pest cycle.
  • Consider interseeding cover crops with production crops, adds Lundgren, offering the pest an alternative food crop and boosting beneficials.
  • Understand pest cycles. Delayed planting may allow overwintering pests to complete their life cycle before emerging plants are at risk.

Cover crops are great for soil health, nutrient sequestration and moisture management. They can also be great havens for insects, as growers who’ve recently adopted cover crops can attest. Continue reading

Interseeding, Precision Planting and Management of Cover Crops in a Corn and Soybean Rotation

What will you learn?

At the conclusion of this webinar participants will be able to develop a prescription for interseeding cover crops, understand the potential benefits of the practice, and describe situations where it will have the most potential for success. Learn more…

Presenter(s):

  • Greg Roth, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Plant Science, Penn State University, University Park, PA

Continue reading

UK research seeks to quantify cover crop benefits

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

Farmers use cover crops to control soil erosion, but they may have additional benefits to the soil and subsequent crops. A group of university researchers, including two scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, are seeking to find and quantify these additional benefits.

Erin Haramoto and Montse Salmeron, UK assistant professors, are part of a team that includes researchers from the University of Nebraska and The Ohio State University. They received more than $460,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture for the study. Continue reading