August 13, 2022

Indiana Farmers Embrace Use of Cover Crops – Inside INdiana Business

Steve Fox plants field corn in a grain rye stand in Freedom, Indiana on May 12, 2022. Fox operates 400 acres and has planted about 200 in cover crops ahead of the 2022 planting season. (NRCS Photos by Brandon O’Connor)

New survey results show Indiana farmers planted cover crops and small grains on 1.5 million acres of farmland at the end of 2021, a record amount set in 2020. The Indiana State Department of Agriculture says the conservation survey also shows about 70 percent of acres were left unploughed.

Cover crops are typically planted in the fall after harvest and help protect the soil and keep roots in the ground through the winter, which improves soil health and helps filter runoff water. runoff.

“Indiana farmers continue to help lead the way through their dedication to conservation agriculture,” said Jerry Raynor, state ecologist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in the United States. ‘Indiana. “The work done by farmers across the state to promote soil health through no-till farming and the planting of cover crops will have positive impacts for generations to come.”

Farmers plant cereals, such as winter wheat or cereal rye, after harvesting corn and soybeans in the fall. The following spring, farmers plant these staple crops in a standing crop.

“As recent surveys have proven, soil conservation is an integral part of how Hoosier farmers care for their land and the work they do,” said Bruce Kettler, director of ISDA. “With this trend of increasing cover crop acreage and soil health, future generations are in good hands.”

The Indiana Conservation Partnership says that as a result of cover crops and other winter covers planted last year, an estimated 2.1 million tons of sediment was prevented from entering the waterways of the Indiana.

It also stopped about 5 million pounds of nitrogen from entering waterways.

Click here to learn more about the results of the conservation survey.

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