Date of this Version
Basche, A.D., and Roesch-McNally, G.E. 2017. Research topics to scale up cover crop use: reflections from innovative Iowa farmers. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 72(3): 59A-63A. doi 10.2489/jswc.72.3.59A
Cover crops as a conservation practice continue to receive attention from farmers, researchers, media, and policy makers, given their ability to effectively reduce water pollution and improve soil quality. Recent estimates of cover crop use across the midwestern Corn Belt, as well as the United States, demonstrate large acreage increases over the last number of years. The annual Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education–Conservation Technology Information Center (SARE– CTIC) survey found that nationally cover crop acreage doubled from 2011 to 2016, based on farmers self-reporting cover crop planting (CTIC 2016). However, the total cover crop acreage based on 2012 Census of Agriculture data only represents 3.2% of harvested cropland nationally and just 2.3% of the total cropland in the US Corn Belt (USDA NASS 2014a, 2014b).