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Farmers in Indiana increase usage of cover crops

State data shows an increase of nearly 10 per cent since 2014

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
Farms.com

According to new data from the Indiana Department of Agriculture, farmers in the state are increasing the usage of cover crops in their fields.

Data from the 2015 Indiana Fall Tillage and Cover Crop Transect reveal that more than 1.1 million acres of cover crops were planted in 2015, up 10 per cent from 2014 and up 225 per cent within the last decade.

State Conservationist Jane Hardisty said that farmers are witnessing the difference cover crops make firsthand.

Barley

“We have fields across the road from each other, one with cover crops and no-till and the other with convention tillage,” she told HoosierAgToday (HAT). “Farmers have seen for themselves the difference in yields in these extreme conditions.  The yields on the cover crop fields far exceeded those on the conventionally tilled fields. This has sent a strong message to producers.”

In addition to cover crops, farmers in Indiana continue to plow less and implement soil conservation techniques.

“Not plowing the soil is a critical component to improving soil health and can reduce soil erosion by 75 per cent when compared to conventional tillage system,” the data reads, showing that approximately 55 per cent of Indiana’s harvested land was left alone during the winter.

Hardisty told HAT that farmers using conservation techniques and changing their operations are “getting more output with less inputs.”


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