Nebraska Cover Crops: What, Where, and How

Nebraska Cover Crops: What, Where, and How

Dec. 22, 2015

Results from 2015 Cover Crop Survey related to size of operation planting cover crops, as indicated by survey respondents
Figure 1.  Survey responses indicated that the size of farming operation did appear to be a factor in whether cover crops were grown. Of the respondents reporting they had planted cover crops, 33% had operations greater than 1500 acres. Of those reporting they had not used cover crops, 39% were in the smallest land category, 20-500 acres.

See Cover Crop Survey of Nebraska Farmers Summary for more insights into cover crop use in Nebraska.

Earlier this year 258 Nebraska farmers responded to a UNL survey, sharing information and insights on their current management practices and the use of cover crops in Nebraska cropping systems. Farmers attending the 2015 Pesticide Safety Education Program Courses, Crop Production Clinics, and the Nebraska No-till Conferences were invited to take the survey.

The results of the survey showed:

  • Of the participating farmers, 34% planted cover crops during the previous cropping season.
  • The top ranked barrier to cover crop use was time and labor required to manage cover crops. This was followed closely by cover crop seed cost.
  • Despite being a small proportion of the acres managed, corn silage and hybrid seed corn acres made up slightly over one-third of the cover crop acres.
  • Brassicas and winter cereal grains were the most commonly planted cover crops.
  • Of the farmers who planted cover crops, 49% grazed some portion of their cover crop acres.

For more information on the survey results, please see the Cover Crop Survey of Nebraska Farmers Summary.

Also watch for more information and a follow-up cover crop survey at Nebraska Extension meetings this winter, including the Crop Production Clinics.

Mary Drewnoski, Nathan Muller, Randy Saner, Paul Jasa, Gary Zoubek, Jenny Rees, Katie Pekarek, Roger Elmore, Daren Redfearn and Gary Lesoing, Nebraska Extension