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

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

New technology helps analyze soil

In Morning Ag Clips

Farmers and gardeners know their soil texture can make a big difference in their success. Different plants have different needs for water, nutrients, and air. When they grow in soil that has the right texture, it is easier to deliver the right amount of water, fertilizer, or pesticide to the plants. Then they grow better.

Traditional ways of analyzing soil texture are slow. Danish researchers have shown a new, high-tech method that is fast, cost-effective, and portable. This technique could make it much easier to understand the soil texture of a particular area–or even large areas across the globe. Continue reading

Free SARE Books, Bulletins Available to Nonprofit Educators

Looking for educational materials to supplement your next farm tour, workshop or conference program? SARE books, bulletins and promotional materials are available at no cost to nonprofit organizations hosting sustainable agriculture educational programs for 10 or more farmers, ranchers or agricultural educators. A limit of 25 free books per organization per year applies.

Materials available in print may be requested for domestic, nonprofit use only and may not be resold. Please allow six weeks for your request to be reviewed and materials to be delivered. Limited quantities are available, and SARE reserves the right to limit orders, reject a request or modify these terms at any time.  Continue reading

New ATTRA Farm-Safety Resources Help Growers Understand Regulations

Editor’s note: This post isn’t directly related to pest management, but since pest management is part of food safety, I thought the information may be useful to your stakeholders.

Now that food safety regulations are being implemented under the Food Safety Modernization Act, many growers are confused about how the regulations apply to their farms. Regardless of whether a farm is exempt from the regulations or not, it is important to have an understanding of food safety risks on your own farm and apply simple food safety measures. Continue reading