By Ashley McFarland
A survey, administered by Michigan State University Extension staff in the Upper Peninsula seeks to understand current cover crop usage throughout the region, and barriers to increased adoption.
Despite a tough crop year in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, an increasing amount of green can be seen in the farm fields this fall. Increased adoption of cover crops is a welcomed sight, but there are still many acres to be covered and much education to be done on the proper implementation, management and benefits of cover crops. A team of MSU Extension staff and researchers from the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center (UPREC) have developed a survey to establish a baseline of knowledge on where, how and why cover crops are being used. This survey, supported by the MSU Project GREEEN research fund, compliments ongoing cover crop research conducted by the staff in Menominee County. The 2017 research consisted of species evaluation, forage potential and a planting date trial.
Keeping the ground green, even through the winter, is vitally important to support soil health and resilience. MSU research is focusing on how to make cover crop practices more realistic for the Upper Peninsula.
Surveys will be administered at various MSU Extension events throughout the fall, but farmers can go online now and complete the survey at the link below. Please note, responses from farmers not currently using cover crops is just as valuable as those that do, so all farmers are encouraged to participate. By understanding the challenges that deter adoption, appropriate research and outreach can be developed to respond to those needs.
Follow this link to respond to the cover crop survey: Upper Peninsula Cover Crop Survey
Results will be summarized and reported out in early 2018. The data will inform research and outreach potential for ongoing work in the Upper Peninsula and will support a research proposal, to be submitted in spring 2018, to increase capacity for the cover crop team in the region. If you have any questions about cover crops or would like to complete the survey over the phone, feel free to reach out to Ashley McFarland at 906-439-5176 or firstname.lastname@example.org. McFarland is the Director of the Michigan State University Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center in Chatham, Michigan and a Community Food System Educator with MSU Extension.