Indiana Sets State Record for Cover Crops

An Indiana Conservation Partnership survey reports that Indiana farmers planted a record-setting 1.5 million acres of overwinter living covers. Overwintering covers—cover crops and small grains—prevented 1.6 million tons of sediment, 4.1 million pounds of nitrogen, and more than 2 million pounds of phosphorus from entering Indiana’s waterways. The conservation survey also showed that 62% of farmed acres in Indiana were not tilled and 18% had employed reduced tillage after the 2020 harvest. “This year’s data may be surprising to some considering the tough farm economy this past year. But over time, our farmers have learned that incorporating a comprehensive management system into their operation that includes cover crops and no-till/strip-till have helped improve the sustainability and productivity of their soils,” said Indiana State Conservationist, Jerry Raynor. “As a result, farmers are sequestering more carbon, increasing water infiltration, improving wildlife and pollinator habitat—all while harvesting better profits and often better yields.”