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Cover Crops Research and Demonstration

Cover crops are among the most exciting and most complex conservation systems on today's agricultural landscape. CTIC and its partners have been at the forefront of exploring, demonstrating, and promoting cover crops to help make them as effective as possible. Bee Integrated Demonstration Project CTIC is supporting this Honey Bee Health Coalition led effort to bring together beekeepers and farmers ... more.

Nitrogen Cycling and Cover Crops

Corn and Soybean Digest, June 2018

Landowners Support Cover Crops

Corn and Soybean Digest, August 2018

CTIC is doing the math on cover crops. You can, too.

CTIC’s Economic, Agronomic and Environmental Benefits of Cover Crops project, usually called "Cover Crop Math," will pencil out the full range of benefits that cover crops bring to the farm and surrounding areas. Twenty-one farmers in seven states across the Midwest are sharing samples and information from their operations which project partners are analyzing. Four farmers are conducting additional nitrogen rate strip trials to quantify opportunities to ... more.

CTIC's "Let's Do The Math On Cover Crops" Makes Headlines

CTIC's far-reaching Economic, Agronomic and Environmental Benefits of Cover Crops project - commonly called "Let's Do The Math on Cover Crops" - is in the final stage of pulling together data on the impact of cover crops on honey bee habitat. With data from The Ohio State University, CTIC will soon provide insight into cost-effective opportunities to provide pollinator forage on agricultural landscapes. In the meantime, the p ... more.

Cover Crops - An Essential Tool for Sustainable Cropping Sys

The use of cover crops is steadily increasing throughout the United States. Many no-till farmers consider cover crops to be the next step in conservation agriculture. Leaving the soil undisturbed and keeping something growing as many days as possible restores the natural cycles of the soils. Residues and roots create more organic matter in the soils. Increased organic matter serves as a food source to various soil o ... more.

Cover Crops - An Essential Tool for Sustainable Cropping Sys

The use of cover crops is steadily increasing throughout the United States. Many no-till farmers consider cover crops to be the next step in conservation agriculture. Leaving the soil undisturbed and keeping something growing as many days as possible restores the natural cycles of the soils. Residues and roots create more organic matter in the soils. Increased organic matter serves as a food source to various soil o ... more.

Let's Do the Math onCover Crops

Help CTIC pencil out the economic and environmental benefits of cover crops through the "Economic, Agronomic and Environmental Benefits of Cover Crops" project. Below, sign up for our cover crops mailing list or let us know that you are interested in working with us. For more information on the project, check out our project webpage.

Cover Crops - An Essential Tool for Sustainable Cropping Systems

The use of cover crops is steadily increasing throughout the United States. Many no-till farmers consider cover crops to be the next step in conservation agriculture. Leaving the soil undisturbed and keeping something growing as many days as possible restores the natural cycles of the soils. Residues and roots create more organic matter in the soils. Increased organic matter serves as a food source to various soil o ... more.

Oat and rye overseeded into soybean as fall cover crops in the upper Midwest.

Oat, rye, and an oat-rye mixture were overseeded into soybean in August to determine the shoot dry matter and residue cover produced by these cover crops and their effect on subsequent soybean and corn yield. <span style="font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;Calibri" ,"sans-serif";times="" new="" roman";times="" roman";"="">Oat and rye overseeded into soybean as fall cover crops in the upper Midwest.

Adding Cover Crops to a No-Till System

Dan Forgey, farm manager at Cronin Farms in South Dakota, has been using no-till management for more than 17 years. Over that time, Forgey has developed a keen understanding of how his farming system works and where new challenges and opportunities exist. The Next Step: Adding Cover Crop to a No-Till System (Video)

Managing Cover Crops Profitably (Handbook from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program)

Managing Cover Crops Profitablyexplores how and why cover crops work and provides all the information needed to build cover crops into any farming operation. Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd Edition

A decade of advances in cover crops

Cover crops with limited irrigation can increase yields, crop quality, and nutrient and water use efficiencies while protecting the environment. Delgado, J.A., M. A. Dillon, R. T. Sparks, and S. Y.C. Essah. 2007. A decade of advances in cover crops. J. Soil Water Conserv. 62(5):110A-117A.

Are cover crops being used in the US corn belt?

The benefits of using cover crops are well established, but adoption in agronomic farming systems is unknown. The objectives of this study were to quantify cover crop use and identify factors associated with their adoption. Are cover crops being used in the US corn belt?

Effect of cover crops established at time of corn planting on phosphorus runoff from soils before and after dairy manure application.

Phosphorus (P) runoff from agricultural soils is a concern due to eutrophication. <span style="font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;Calibri" ,"sans-serif";times="" new="" roman";times="" roman";"="">Effect of cover crops established at time of corn planting on phosphorus runoff from soils before and after dairy manure application.

Small grain cover crops and wheel traffic effects on infiltration, runoff, and erosion.

Oat and rye cover crops have the potential to reduce erosion when following soybean crops in Iowa. <span style="font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;Calibri" ,"sans-serif";times="" new="" roman";times="" roman";"="">Small grain cover crops and wheel traffic effects on infiltration, runoff, and erosion.

Biological and biochemical soil properties in no-till corn with different cover crops.

... These include higher total carbon, which usually contributes to increased cation exchange capacity and water-holding capacity. <span style="font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;Calibri" ,"sans-serif";times="" new="" roman";times="" roman";"="">Biological and biochemical soil properties in no-till corn with different cover crops.

Sequential NLEAP simulations to examine effect of early and late planted winter cover crops on nitrogen dynamics.

... water standards of 10 mg NO3−-N L−1 (10 ppm) for some areas of the San Luis Valley of south central Colorado. <span style="font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;Calibri" ,"sans-serif";times="" new="" roman";times="" roman";"="">Sequential NLEAP simulations to examine effect of early and late planted winter cover crops on nitrogen dynamics.

Enhancing soil nitrogen mineralization and corn yield with overseeded cover crops.

... season, an adequate level of mineralized soil N is essential in order to obtain optimum corn (Zea mays L.) growth and productivity. <span style="font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;Calibri" ,"sans-serif";times="" new="" roman";times="" roman";"="">Enhancing soil nitrogen mineralization and corn yield with overseeded cover crops.

Economic analysis of the effects of winter cover crops on no-tillage corn yield response to applied nitrogen.

... rates during 1986 through 1995 were used to estimate corn yield response functions for hairy vetch, crimson clover, winter wheat, and no cover alternatives. <span style="font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;Calibri" ,"sans-serif";times="" new="" roman";times="" roman";"="">Economic analysis of the effects of winter cover crops on no-tillage corn yield response to applied nitrogen.

Economics of Cover Crops

The Economics of Cover Crops Presentation

USING COVER CROPS TO FACILITATE THE TRANSITION TO CONTINUOUS NO-TILL

This project, funded by a 2008 Conservation Innovation Grant, promotes the use of cover crops to ease farmers’ transition to use of continuous no-till. Continuous no-till (CNT) has been around long enough that there is little doubt among experts of its many advantages. Despite the proven economic and environmental benefits of CNT, some farmers remain hesitant to fully adopt the system. In 2004, the National Crop Residue Management survey indicated that only 22.6 percent of farmers w ... more.

COVER CROPS AND CONSERVATION TILLAGE REDUCE NONPOINT SOURCE POLLUTION

This project, funded by EPA's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, will demonstrate the effectiveness of cover crops and conservation tillage systems to decrease agricultural nonpoint source pollution and inform producers about the economic benefits of the systems. CTIC and partners will assist agricultural producers in the Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and Lake Huron watersheds with implementation of cover crops and conservation tillage systems on 15,000 acres by April 2013. Producers will receive technical, educa ... more.

Implementation of cover crops can have the following beneficial effects:

Increase soil organic matter Increase infiltration of water into the soil Decrease runoff to nearby waterways Decrease soil erosion and transport to nearby waterways Conserve soil moisture Reduce soil compaction Increase nutrient availability to the crop Reduce nitrate leaching to groundwater Supply nitrogen to following crop Suppress weeds, po ... more.

GLCCI Fitting Cover Crops

Economics of Cover Crops

Benefits of Cover Crops Presentation

15,000 ACRES OF COVER CROPS

CTIC recently received a Grant from EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that will fund the promotion of cover crops and conservation tillage in the Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan Watersheds. Agricultural producers will be provided with technical, educational and social support which will work together to create strong cover crop and conservation tillage systems that can be sustained after the project ends. Education CTIC will work with partners to host 18 workshops in the three watersheds ( ... more.

Cover Crops and Conservation Tillage

Cover Crops and Conservation Tillage Reduce NPS Pollution Project Description

Using Cover Crops to Facilitate the Transition to Continuous No-Till

Using cover crops and continuous no-till together in a conservation system over time maximizes soil health and may lead to yield increases and other benefits. Photo courtesy of CTIC Using Cover Crops to Facilitate the Transition to Continuous No-Till Why this project? Using cover crops and continuous no-till toge ... more.

CTIC Launches New Conservation Information Website

... practices, has launched its brand-new website at www.ctic.org. The easy-to-search, simple-to-navigate site contains thousands of documents and links to information on conservation farming systems. Among the highlights are: A searchable database from the Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS), which uses satellite imagery to provide detailed data on tillage practices and cover crops at the county or watershed (HUC-8) scale; Cover crop insight, including details of the economic and environmental benefits of cover crops and the results of five annual farmer surveys on cover crop use; Tips on organizing watershed groups and multi-stakeholder conservation efforts, including tips, analysis of knowledge transfer, and ideas for creating effective demonstration plots; Real-wor ... more.

Past Tours

... how a feedlot manages their pens, manure, and composting, plus an engineered wetland, the soil building strategies in potato rotations and how one family farm is building the thin soils on their sloping operation through cover cropping, no-till and the reintroduction of livestock to the operation. Find out more on our tour wrap-up page. Conservation in Action Tour 2015 From the cover crops of the Hmong American Farmers Association farm near Hastings to Northfield farmer Dave Legvold’s saturated buffers and the impeccable dairy and manure handling system at Burfeind Dairy Farm near Goodhue, participants in the Conservation Technology Information Center’s (CTIC) eighth annual Conservation in Action Tour got a first-hand look at systems that protect water quality, build so ... more.

2018 Membership Drive

... share information on conservation farming systems. In short, we Connect, Inform and Champion to encourage the adoption of practices that protect soil, water and air quality as well as farmers’ economic sustainability. There has never been a better time to join CTIC. We’ve got great programs in the field and a clearinghouse full of information on everything from selecting the right cover crops to organizing watershed-wide conservation projects. In addition to the information below, a membership application is now available online at https://www.ctic.org/Membership/Join Here you will be able to pay your membership dues online with a credit card (available for memberships up to $2,000) request an invoice, or provide us with special billing instructions. You can find out even mor ... more.

Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS)

... to Monitor Conservation Practices The Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS) has been developed by Applied GeoSolutions (AGS) and the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) as a method for the automated use of remote sensing (satellite-based) data to monitor conservation practices in agricultural systems, including various forms of reduced tillage and the planting of winter cover crops. While the OpTIS calculations are performed and validated at the farm-field scale, the privacy of individual producers is fully protected by distributing only spatially-aggregated results – at the county and watershed (8-digit HUC) scale. CTIC has been the primary source of this type of conservation practice monitoring data for nearly 30 years. In partnership with USDA and many others, t ... more.

Data on Conservation Practices

... residue and cover crop management. Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS) The Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS) has been developed by Applied GeoSolutions and CTIC as a method for the automated use of remote sensing (satellite-based) data to monitor conservation practices in agricultural systems, including various forms of reduced tillage and the planting of winter cover crops. Crop Residue Management Survey Data Since 1982, CTIC's National Crop Residue Management Survey (CRM) has been the only survey in the U.S. designed to measure and track the type of tillage used by crop at the county level through direct observation of field conditions by on-the-ground experts at mile or half-mile intervals. Funding for the full national survey ended in 2004, though some ... more.

Indian Creek Watershed Project

... including a booklet and video on leadership lessons and partnership development based on experiences from the project. A series of fact sheets—distributed to farmers, ag retailers, and crop consultants by CTIC and the local Soil and Water Conservation District—captured key lessons from the project, including: Creating your own demonstration plots Establishing and managing cover crops Spring and split applications of nitrogen Understanding MERN Using enhanced-efficiency nitrogen sources Six video vignettes profiled farmers active in the project, detailing their conservation practices. The CTIC website for the project logged nearly 20,000 page views during the funding period. Project Sponsors and Partners The key to the success of the Indian Creek Watershed P ... more.

Project Farmers in the News

Penton Agriculture Magazines: "Cover Crop Success"-Berger "With Each Season Comes New Lessons"-Eilers, Scott Stick With It"-Berger "A Seed Corn, Covers Duet"-Schirm "Farmers Join Nat'l Study on Cover Crops"-McKenzie Other Sources: "No-Till, Cover Crops from a Farmer's Point of View"-Scott

OpTIS: Where Technology Drives Conservation Results

The global population is estimated to exceed 9 billion people by 2050, placing unprecedented pressure on American farmers to grow even more of the crops that clothe, fuel and feed the world. One way to help alleviate this pressure is to significantly improvesoil healthon cropland. By adopting practices like planting winter cover crops and reducing—or better yet eliminating—tillage practices, farmers can significantly improve productivity of their fields, reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and increase carbon storage. In fact, agricultural soils are among the planet's largest reservoirs (orsinks) of carbon. Improving soil on American croplands has the potential to mitigate 25 million metric tons of ... more.

OpTIS: Plot Study and Next Step

Indiana Pilot Study Ten years of tillage-transect data collected by the State of Indiana were used to verify the ability of OpTIS algorithms to automatically process publicly-available remote sensing data, in order to accurately characterize tillage practices and the presence of winter cover crops. View Resource Next Step Building on the success of the Indiana Pilot, CTIC is now again partnering with AGS to apply OpTIS across the entire US Corn Belt (Phase 1). Phase 2 will involve application of OpTIS to all US agricultural regions. View Resource

Mission

CONNECT CTIC brings people together. We build coalitions. We connect farmers, researchers, policymakers, agribusiness, and lead discussions that move conversations ahead. INFORM CTIC is a clearinghouse for convservation information, from Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS) regional trend data to how to implement practices on your farm. ... more.

Additional Resources

... for a wide range of information on conservation agriculture. Click on one of the themes below to browse our site, or look for a particular practice or place in the search bar. Ag Consultant Resources Bees and Pollinators Buffer Strips Community Organizing Conservation Tillage Conservation Practices—Adoption Crop Residue Management (CRM) Survey Drainage Water Management Cover Crops Cover Crop Survey Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Demonstration Projects Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Grazing and Rangeland Hypoxia Know Your Watershed Leadership Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) No-Till National Aquatic Resource Survey (NARS) National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) Nutrient Management Operational Tillage Assessment Syste ... more.

2010 Tour Wrap-Up

... participants are saying about the most valuable part of the Tour... “Today’s tour has been the highlight of my professional training for this year! I not only gained very useful CEU’s in Soil and Water Management…I got to network with people I have not be introduced to before….this was a great experience.” "We utilize cover crops on our farm knowing how important they are. I learned so much more today and look forward to putting it into practice. THANK YOU!" "I thought this year’s tour was focused much more on solutions than merely on practices and that was GREAT!" "Meeting new friends in our business and seeing beautiful parts of the country. Great t ... more.

2015 Tour Wrap-Up

From the cover crops of the Hmong American Farmers Association farm near Hastings to Northfield farmer Dave Legvold’s saturated buffers and the impeccable dairy and manure handling system at Burfeind Dairy Farm near Goodhue, participants in the Conservation Technology Information Center’s (CTIC) eighth annual Conservation in Action Tour got a first-hand look at systems that protect water quality, build so ... more.

2016 Tour Wrap-Up

... and water management – composting demonstration, floodplain management considerations and constructed wetlands Stop #3 – Arena Valley, Wilder, Idaho Sustainability, nutrient management and conservation systems Potato research trials – nitrogen efficiency, new varieties and bio-pesticides Cropping systems – rotations, equipment and cover crops Sustainability audits Potato harvest demonstration Stop #4 – McIntyre Farm, Caldwell, Idaho Soil health systems Bringing livestock back into the system, grazing management, cover crops and soil pit Nutrient and water management – irrigation water use and rainfall simulator See the Action: Check out the 2016 tour photo gallery to expl ... more.

2016-2017 Cover Crop Survey

... Trade Association (ASTA), with help from Penton Media through their Corn and Soybean Digest publication. For results from previous years, please see below. The fifth annual cover crop survey by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) draws on the insight of 2,102 farmers—88 percent of whom reported using cover crops and 12 percent who identified themselves as non-users—from across the U.S. Cereal rye remained the top choice of farmers for cover cropping, followed by oats and radish. Sixty-five percent of the cover crop users reported planting mixes in 2016.

Helping People, Land and Water: The Cover Crop Story

What do farms, water quality and the Great Lakes have in common? They all are helped by cover crops. Through the Great Lakes Cover Crop Initiative, CTIC and partners planted 36,970 acres of cover crops, providing many benefits to farmers in the Great Lakes region. Hear from three farmers in the Great Lakes basin, a researcher on Lake Erie and a Michigan State University Extension educator as they present "The Cover Crop Story."

2012-2013 Cover Crop Survey

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and CTIC conducted the first cover crop user survey. More than 750 farmers from across the U.S. completed the survey, representing hundreds of thousands of acres of cover crops and drawing on cover cropping experience that goes back as far as 1948. The 2012 crop year was a challenging one in which to study yield impacts – much of the U.S. was impacted by drought, which pushed national per-acre corn production estimates down by 43.7 bushels, or 26.3%, and reduced soybean production by 8.1%, or 4.0 bushels per acre, based on early-season predictions from the U.S. De ... more.

2013-2014 Cover Crop Survey

Sustainable Agriculture Resaerch and Education (SARE) program and CTIC conducted a national survey of farmers to learn more about their use of cover crops. More than 1,900 farmers completed the survey, which was a follow-up to a smaller survey in 2012-2013 (see below). Results show a yield boost from the use of cover crops in corn and soybeans, data on the costs of seed and establishment, the challenges and benefits farmers expect from cover crops and insight into how farmers learn to manage cover crops. Read the full report. See the news release f ... more.

2014-2015 Cover Crop Survey

A survey of more than 1,200 farmers across the country revealed that cover crops boosted corn yields last year by a mean of 3.66 bushels per acre (2.1%) and increased soybeans by an average of 2.19 bushels per acre (4.2%)—the third year in a row a yield increase following cover crops was recorded by the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) Cover Crop Survey. Read the full report.

2015-2016 Cover Crop Survey

Insight from 2,020 farmers from across the country found that the planted acreage of cover crops continued its steady rise - reaching an average of 298 acres per farm in 2015 and projected to grow to a mean of 339 acres in 2016. Those figures are more than double the acreage survey participants said they planted in 2011. After cover crops, corn yields rose an average 3.4 bushels per acre, or 1.9 percent, after cover crops, and soybean yields increased 1.5 bushels per acre, or 2.8 percent. ... more.

CTIC in the News

Scaling Up Water Quality Efforts in Iowa Wallaces Farmer, August 2018 Landowners Support Cover Crops Corn and Soybean Digest, August 2018 Time Is Money Corn and Soybean Digest, July 2018 Nitrogen Cycling and Cover Crops Corn and Soybean Digest, June 2018 All In On Cover Crop Corn and Soybean Digest, April 2018 Study Links Best Management Practices To Cleaner Watershed Environmental Change Initiative, June 2016

CTIC project updates

... and other water quality impairments. If you know of a project or a farmer that fits this description, contact Chad Watts at watts@ctic.org. OpTIS: CTIC is currently working with Applied GeoSolutions, a data analytics company based out of New Hampshire, to refine and implement a remote sensing-based system that estimates crop residue amounts and determines the presence or absence of cover crops on cropland. Through this technology, called the Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS), CTIC will lead the next phase of the Crop Residue Management (CRM) survey, which CTIC operated between 1989 and 2004. The current OpTIS project will collect crop residue and cover crops data from the U.S. Corn Belt between 2005 and 2017, filling gaps in tillage records that have widened since ... more.

CTIC project updates

... on our website in the near future. Supply Chain Sustainability in Iowa Last fall, CTIC finished the first phase of a project funded by the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship. For the last three years, this project enhanced an ongoing supply chain sustainability initiative with technical and financial support that helped participating farmers plant nearly 40,000 acres of cover crops. For our next step, CTIC is joining partners including The Nature Conservancy, Practical Farmers of Iowa, and Unilever to encourage greater adoption of conservation systems among farmers already enrolled in supply chain sustainability initiatives. This project will focus outreach and education on farmers in on Iowa’s Skunk watersheds, as well as utilizing the recently developed&nbs ... more.

Reflecting on 2017

... to provide technical and educational support across the country through workshops and meetings that brought together farmers, researchers, regulators and policymakers. We continued to curate information and track trends in conservation agriculture through projects and surveys, such as our annual cover crop survey and our Let's Do the Math: Economic, Agronomic and Environmental Benefits of Cover Crops project.

CTIC project updates

... other water quality impairments. If you know of a project or a farmer that fits this description, contact Tammy Taylor attaylor@ctic.org OpTIS: CTIC is currently working with Applied GeoSolutions, a data analytics company based out of New Hampshire, to refine and implement a remote sensing-based system that estimates crop residue amounts and determines the presence or absence of cover crops on cropland. Through this technology, called the Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS), CTIC will lead the next phase of the Crop Residue Management (CRM) survey, which CTIC operated between 1989 and 2004. The current OpTIS project will collect crop residue and cover crops data from the U.S. Corn Belt between 2005 and 2017, filling gaps in tillage records that have widened since ... more.

CTIC project updates

Supply Chain Sustainability in Iowa Last fall, CTIC finished the first phase of a project funded by the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship. For the last three years, this project enhanced an ongoing supply chain sustainability initiative with technical and financial support that helped participating farmers plant nearly 40,000 acres of cover crops. For our next step, CTIC is joining partners including The Nature Conservancy, Practical Farmers of Iowa, and Unilever to encourage greater adoption of conservation systems among farmers already enrolled in supply chain sustainability initiatives. This project will focus outreach and education on farmers in on Iowa’s Skunk watersheds, as well as utilizing the recently developed&nbs ... more.

CTIC Project Updates

... water quality impairments. If you know of a project or a farmer that fits this description, contact Tammy Taylor at taylor@ctic.org. OpTIS: CTIC is currently working with Applied GeoSolutions, a data analytics company based out of New Hampshire, to refine and implement a remote sensing-based system that estimates crop residue amounts and determines the presence or absence of cover crops on cropland. Through this technology, called the Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS), CTIC will lead the next phase of the Crop Residue Management (CRM) survey, which CTIC operated between 1989 and 2004. The current OpTIS project will collect crop residue and cover crops data from the U.S. Corn Belt between 2005 and 2017, filling gaps in tillage records that have wid ... more.

Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS)

The Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS) has been developed by Applied GeoSolutions (AGS) and the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) as a method for the automated use of remote sensing (satellite-based) data to monitor conservation practices in agricultural systems, including various forms of reduced tillage and the planting of winter cover crops. While the OpTIS calculations are performed and validated at the farm-field scale, the privacy of individual producers is fully protected by distributing only spatially-aggregated results – at the county and watershed (8-digit HUC) scale.

SARE/CTIC Cover Crop Surveys

Cover crops offer a wide range of benefits to farmers, from erosion control to soil building to capturing nutrients and holding them in the root zone over the winter. As interest in cover crops continues to grow, it’s important to understand the trends, opportunities and challenges surrounding these important tools. Insight from farmers who use cover crops—or from those who haven’t yet made ... more.

2016-2017 Cover Crop Survey

... Association (ASTA), with help from Penton Media through their Corn and Soybean Digest publication. For results from previous years, please see below. The fifth annual cover crop survey by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) draws on the insight of 2,102 farmers—88 percentof whom reported using cover crops and 12 percent who identified themselves as non-users—from across the U.S. Cereal rye remained the top choice of farmers for cover cropping, followed by oats and radish. Sixty-five percent of the cover crop users reported planting mixes in 2016.

Reflecting on 2017...

... to provide technical and educational support across the country through workshops and meetings that brought together farmers, researchers, regulators and policymakers. We continued to curate information and track trends in conservation agriculture through projects and surveys, such as our annual cover crop survey and our Let's Do the Math: Economic, Agronomic and Environmental Benefits of Cover Crops project.

Build Coalitions

... in agriculture. Local stakeholder groups focus onimproving nutrient managementin Mississippi River Basin watersheds. CTIC led the formation of three collaborative groups, all including public and private members, to develop and oversee projects and programs in three regions: southern Minnesota, Missouri Bootheel and Upper Wabash River Watershed. To help producersintegrate cover crops and adopt a continuous no-till system, CTIC connected producers with crop consultants for customized assistance and brought in expertise from the Midwest Cover Crops Council.

2012-2013 Cover Crop Survey

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and CTIC conducted the first cover crop user survey. More than 750 farmers from across the U.S. completed the survey, representing hundreds of thousands of acres of cover crops and drawing on cover cropping experience that goes back as far as 1948. The 2012 crop year was a challenging one in which to study yield impacts – much of the U.S. was impacted by drought, which pushed national per-acre corn production estimates down by 43.7 bushels, or 26.3%, and reduced soybean production by 8.1%, or 4.0 bushels per acre, based on early-season predictions from the U.S. De ... more.

2013-2014 Cover Crop Survey

Sustainable Agriculture Resaerch and Education (SARE) program and CTIC conducted a national survey of farmers to learn more about their use of cover crops. More than 1,900 farmers completed the survey, which was a follow-up to a smaller survey in 2012-2013 (see below). Results show a yield boost from the use of cover crops in corn and soybeans, data on the costs of seed and establishment, the challenges and benefits farmers expect from cover crops and insight into how farmers learn to manage cover crops. See the news releasefor highlights. ... more.

2014-2015 Cover Crop Survey

A survey of more than 1,200 farmers across the country revealed that cover crops boosted corn yields last year by a mean of 3.66 bushels per acre (2.1%) and increased soybeans by an average of 2.19 bushels per acre (4.2%)—the third year in a row a yield increase following cover crops was recorded by the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) Cover Crop Survey.

2015-2016 Cover Crop Survey

Insight from 2,020 farmers from across the country found that the planted acreage of cover crops continued its steady rise - reaching an average of 298 acres per farm in 2015 and projected to grow to a mean of 339 acres in 2016. Those figures are more than double the acreage survey participants said they planted in 2011. After cover crops, corn yields rose an average 3.4 bushels per acre, or 1.9 percent, after cover crops, and soybean yields increased 1.5 bushels per acre, or 2.8 percent. ... more.

Indiana Pilot Study

Ten years of tillage-transect data collected by the State of Indiana were used to verify the ability of OpTIS algorithms to automatically process publicly-available remote sensing data, in order to accurately characterize tillage practices and the presence of winter cover crops.

TAKE THE 2016 COVER CROP SURVEY

Click here to take the survey online for a chance to win a $100 gift card! Whether you plant them now, used to plant them or never tried… your insight is important. Your opinions will help guide policy, research and education on cover crops nationwide..

Take our SARE/CTIC Cover Crop Survey

Make a difference! Take our SARE/CTIC Cover Crop Survey and share your thoughts on cover crops. You’ll help guide cover crop research, and be eligible for a $100 gift card drawing!

NEW COVER CROP SURVEY SHOWS YIELD BOOST

The 2013-2014 CTIC and SARE national survey of farmers has documented a yield boost from the use of cover crops in corn and soybeans, as well as a wide variety of other benefits.

CTIC at COMMODITY CLASSIC

CTIC celebrates International Year of Soils at 2015 Commodity Classic. Visit CTIC at Commodity Classic booth 918, where Karen Scanlon, CTIC executive director, and Chad Watts, CTIC project director, will discuss: Our multi-state project to document the agronomic and economic benefits of cover crops. The 2015 Conservation in Action Tour in Minnesota, which will feature innovative partnership efforts for conservation farming success. CTIC’s work to track cover crop use and document the benefits of keeping the soil covered from harvest to planting. At the booth, pick up a copy of the 2013-2014 Cover Crop Survey Report to see how and why farmers across the ... more.

2014 Achievements

... their insight and BMPs. • We hosted a hypoxia panel for leading farm journalists at the Agricultural Media Summit. • Our Indian Creek Watershed Project yielded a highly successful tour and three great presentations at the 2014 International Soil and Water Conservation Society Annual Conference. • We kicked off our 2.5-year Economic, Agronomic and Environmental Benefits of Cover Crops CIG project. • Our 7th annual Conservation in Action Tour brought more than 150 conservation-minded participants to Florida for a look at cutting edge stormwater treatment, nutrient management and wildlife enhancement projects. We even got cited on Capitol Hill by none other than U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and NRCS Chief Jason Weller. Thanks to our dedicated membe ... more.

The gap between cover crop knowledge and practice

Cover crops can provide a multitude of environmental benefits, including reducing soil erosion, minimizing nitrogen leaching, and increasing soil carbon storage (Delgado et al. 2007; Singer et al. 2007; Hargrove 1991). Anderson-Wilk, M. 2008. The gap between cover crop knowledge and practice. J. Soil Water Conserv. 63(4):96A.

Cover crop effects on soil water relationships.

Cover crops help control erosion, prevent nutrient leaching, fix nitrogen, improve sail conditions, and protect seedlings, but also use water, thus affecting soil water relationships far the next crop. <span style="font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;Calibri" ,"sans-serif";times="" new="" roman";times="" roman";"="">Cover crop e ... more.

Cover crop impacts on watershed hydrology.

Cover crops alter many aspects of the hydrologic cycle. <span style="font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;Calibri" ,"sans-serif";times="" new="" roman";times="" roman";"="">Cover crop impacts on watershed hydrology.

Stochastic dominance analysis of winter cover crop and nitrogen fertilizer systems for no-tillage corn.

This study evaluated how winter cover crops with various applied nitrogen rates affect net revenue and risk from no-tillage corn production. <span style="font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;Calibri" ,"sans-serif";times="" new="" roman";times="" roman";"="">Stochastic dominance analysis of winter cover crop and nitrogen fertilizer systems for no-tillage corn. ... more.

The Great Crop Rotation Cover-Up

Josh Lloyd tries to do "what Mother Nature does" on his farm near Clay Center, Kansas. That means a no-till system combined with the planting of a polyculture of cover crops -- turnips, radishes and canola -- in rotation with his sorghum and wheat acres. Caldwell, Jeff. 2009. The great crop rotation cover-up. Agriculture Online. Using Cover_crops SAG 08 09 This is a literature review of cover crop benefits from Dabney et al. 2001 and Dabney 1996. Oilseed_Radish Oilseed radish is a unique cover crop that farmers are planting t ... more.

CONSERVATION TILLAGE SYSTEMS

Agricultural conservation systems produce good yields and strong profits while responsibly managing environmental resources. These systems efficiently manage nutrients and pests, control irrigation and drainage water flows, use cover crops, rotate crops to maximize conservation benefits and minimize equipment wear. See CTIC's conservation systems information sheet HERE.

CTIC FEATURED ON AG DAY

AgDay featured CTIC in a story as part of its ongoing "Future of Farming" series. Tyne Morgan, national reporter, visited the CTIC office in early March to interview Karen Scanlon, CTIC executive director. The story aired Wednesday, March 21. Karen and Upstream Hero Larry Bonnell, interviewed on his farm in Michigan, discussed conservation successes, cover crops and water quality in the broadcast. The AgDay report also promoted CTIC's Conservation In Action Tour 2012 in the Mississippi Delta this year. To view the broadcast, click here, or for a written summary click here. CTIC thanks AgDay and Tyne Morgan for great promotion of conservation and the Conservation In Action Tour.

Great Lakes Cover Crop Initiative

Great Lakes Cover Crop Initiative The Great Lakes Cover Crop Initiative (GLCCI) is a regional effort to establish 15 thousand acres of cover crops in the Lake Michigan, Lake Erie and Lake Huron watersheds in three years. This goal will be accomplished through extensive outreach through field days, workshops and other conservation events. In addition to the outreach events, GLCCI coordinators are working in each watershed to give farmers one on one consultations to help them establish successful cover crops and learn to manag ... more.

Conservation In Action Tour 2011 Post-Tour News Release

... on conservation and how they are systematically transitioning their operation to a successful, profitable no-till system. John McGuire, Simplified Technology Services, discussed precision ag technology. Then at Allen Dean's 1,900-acre corn, soybean and cover crop operation, visitors heard a presentation by Frank Gibbs, USDA resource soil scientist, who discussed the benefits of cover crops to soil health. View a video of Gibbs’ presentation. Dean presented how he uses cover crops to improve water infiltration, soil quality and erosion control. Todd Hesterman hosted the final farm stop where tour attendees joined in discussions about soluble phosphorus, its impacts to water quality, sources and solutions. Dr. Libby Dayton, soil and environmental chemi ... more.

No-Till 2011 Conference

... from producers to industry experts. No-Till 2011 is a conference designed to bring the latest developments in no-till cropping systems to interested farmers and ranchers from Oklahoma and surrounding states. For more details, view the conference brochure. Below is an outline of topics to be covered at this year's No-Till Conference: Soil Fertility Cover Crops No-Till Cotton Production Intensifying the Rotation with Double-Crops On-Farm Research Session Weed Management Corn and Soybean Production No-Till Wheat Grazing Systems Weed Science 101 Soils 101 Intensified Management with Grid Soil Sampling and/or Management Zones Dedicated Absentee Landowners Session Soil Conservation

Cover Crop Workshops

CTIC is working with partners in the GLCCI program to offer six workshops to provide information to producers about the benefits of cover crops and how to use them. Each workshops will take place from 8:45am to 3:30pm, with registration beginning at 8:00am. Click here to view a general agenda. The speakers and topics vary from workshop to workshop, but are all very similar programs. Specifics for each workshop and links for online registration can be found below. Online registration is $20 or $30 at the door. The registration feel will c ... more.

Understanding Conservation Tillage Systems Resources

... agricultural conservation systems: CONSERVATION TILLAGE On-Farm Comparison of Conservation Tillage Systems for Corn Following Soybeans assists producers and their advisors in selecting a conservation tillage system for corn in a corn-soybean rotation. Conservation Tillage Series provides information on crop rotation, weed management, soil compaction, nutrient management, cover crops and economic statistics. NO-TILL Energy Estimator for Tillage estimates diesel fuel use and costs in production of your area’s key crops and compares the potential energy savings of conventional tillage and alternative tillage systems. 60 Ways Farmers Can Protect Surface Water provides ideas on how producers can protect water quality without sacrificing productio ... more.

Conservation In Action Tour 2010 "Best Tour Yet"

... participants are saying about the most valuable part of the Tour... “Today’s tour has been the highlight of my professional training for this year! I not only gained very useful CEU’s in Soil and Water Management…I got to network with people I have not be introduced to before….this was a great experience.” "We utilize cover crops on our farm knowing how important they are. I learned so much more today and look forward to putting it into practice. THANK YOU!" "I thought this year’s tour was focused much more on solutions than merely on practices and that was GREAT!" "Meeting new friends in our business and seeing beautiful parts of the country. Great t ... more.

CTIC Cover Crop Initiatives

Using Cover Crops to Facilitate the Transition to Continuous No-Till Project Description Farmer Profiles

Cover Crop Resources

Cover Crops Species Information

Tillage Type Definitions

Crop Residue Management (CRM) A year-round system beginning with the selection of crops that produce sufficient quantities of residue and may include the use of cover crops after low residue producing crops. CRM includes all field operations that affect residue amounts, orientation and distribution throughout the period requiring protection. Site-specific residue cover amounts needed are usually expressed in percentage but may also be in pounds. CRM is an “umbrella” term encompassing several tillage systems including no-till, ridge-till, mulch-till, and ... more.

Crop Rotation - Core 4

... costs may be reduced by naturally breaking the cycles of weeds, insects and diseases. Grass and legumes in a rotation protect water quality by preventing excess nutrients or chemicals from entering water supplies. Meadow or small grains cut soil erosion dramatically. Crop rotations add diversity to an operation. Planning ahead Do you have use for other crops? Cover crops may help in crop rotation. Tech notes Crops must be suited to your soils. Design crop rotations to meet the residue needs of your crop residue management plans. Rotations that include small grains or meadow provide better erosion control. Small grains and meadow can always be used to replace any row crop or low residue crop to gain better erosion control. Corn (grains) can ... more.

Soil Quality: More than a Soil Test

... rapidly decompose organic matter. Mike Hubbs (left), agronomist with NRCS, collecting core sample for bulk density while waiting on respiration test. This high rate of biological activity in a system of low residue inputs decreases soil organic matter. Less organic matter degrades overall soil quality. A no-till system with crop rotations and/or cover crops balances decomposition with organic matter inputs from crop roots and residues, providing a more stable system. As a result, organic matter levels are maintained, or even increased, and biological activity is improved. High respiration with high inputs indicates good soil quality. “Crop rotations, cover crops, no-till or conservation tillage can improve soil respiration,” said ... more.

Cover Crop Workshop (August 25, 2009)

Tuesday, August 25th 9am to 5pm East Main Street Christian Church Elwood, Indiana Presentations from the meeting are below: Cover Crops, No-till, and Soil Quality, Dan Towery Indiana Specific Niches, Dave Robison You have heard about the benefits of cover crops, now learn how to make them work! Spend the day with an all star cast of speakers from Purdue University, NRCS, Michigan State University, CISCO seeds and Ag Conservation Solutions and learn how to use cover crops on your operation. The Conservation Technolo ... more.

CASA Conference Call February 2010

... of no-till certification program. Looking at certification program and how it can be used in “put teeth” into NTOP message. Also working to take over one of KSU research farms, in heart of typical Kansas soil. Preparing for grower meeting in March; Dave Brandt coming back to attend and speak. NRCS –Bill: still want effort to get RUSLE 2 databases (which are updated for cover crops and different management systems) disseminated throughout the region. Want to have training for state agronomist to understand how to use systems like continuous cover and no-till. Bill Puckett leaving HQ to be state conservationist in Alabama. CTIC – Tour planned for July 29, 2009 and invites all CASA to attend. Requested success stories for information campaign. Next Steps: ... more.

Success Story June 2010

Rye cover crop seeded into corn residue. Photo courtesy of USDA Cover Crops Work with Various Crop Production Systems By Jason Johnson According to a panel of Iowa farmers, agronomists and soil conservationists, cover crops such as rye, wheat and clover are environmentally beneficial and with proper management won’t inhibit yields on various crop production systems, including no-till and organic farming. At a recent Cover Crops Workshop in J ... more.

Livestock Waste Management June 2010

... Dean Hively Decision Support Tools – Using GIS for Environmental Adaptive Management Dr. Dean Hively, Research Scientist, USGS Eastern Geographic Center, Reston VA and USDA Agriculture Research Service Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Beltsville, MD highlights mapping tools in collaboration with the Chesapeake Bay Program for evaluating the performance and management of winter cover crops through an innovative combination of satellite remote sensing and site-specific agronomic data, estimating field-specific cover crop biomass and nitrogen uptake, enabling the calculation of program cost per pound of nitrogen sequestration at the landscape scale. Dr. Ann Swinker Best Management and Environmental Stewardship on Equine Operations Dr. Ann Swinker, Extension Ho ... more.

Fast vs. Fuel - The New No-Till Debate

... of continuous corn vs. rotations in irrigated or dryland conditions. The bulletin is online and the simple, fill-in-the-blank spreadsheets are also online. Even continuous corn can work well in a continuous no-till program that has fostered good soil structure and drainage, Gillespie says, at least in his 28-inch rainfall zone. For wetter areas of the Corn Belt, Gillespie recommends exploring cover crops to pull excess moisture from the soil and turn it into organic-matter-boosting biomass. Minnesota grower Tony Thompson is one of those growers. He installed 16 control structures on a 140-acre field near Windom, Minn., to control drainage water. Thompson's slope is about one percent, so each structure manages a zone of about nine acre ... more.

4R Nutrient Stewardship: Why Now?

... tools help farmers assess the variability of a field and, in turn, allow for a more accurate determination of fertilizer and agricultural input needs. Variable rate technology allows different rates of fertilization, seeding and secondary application of nutrients. Additional BMPs, including no-till and low-till systems, conservation buffers and nitrate reducers, are being implemented. Cover crops are also being used to hold the soil in place and prevent erosion, while reducing a crop’s overall nitrogen needs through bacterial fixation. Whether farmers rely upon their own knowledge or the agronomic expertise of a fertilizer retailer, certified crop advisor (CCA), farm manager or extension services specialist, BMPs that incorporate one or more elements of the 4R nutrien ... more.

Research and Technology Briefs Dec 2008

Research & Technology Briefs By Rachel Doctor Midwest Cover Crops Council Web Site Introduced Midwestern farmers wanting to learn more about cover crops now have a central information source where they can easily find practical ways to use them. The Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) recently introduced a Web site as an educational tool to help expand the knowledge compiled since the group's formation two years ago to farmers and others in agricul ... more.

Experts Dispute Study That Relates No-Till to Algae Problem

... researchers, The Ohio State University's David Culver, says he can't say farming is to blame for any of the algae problems he's seen, nor can he rule out any other potential sources of pollution, especially sewer contamination. In fact, the conservation practices of no-till and high-residue mulching improve soil tilth and reduce runoff and erosion, as do other practices such as cover crops and buffers. Several other things farmers can do to decrease the amounts of soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) in the water supply are listed below. The bottom line is that there is no correlation between no-till farming and increased phosphorus runoff. To read the full article from The Toledo Blade, visit: toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080907/COLUMNIST42/809070333 For m ... more.

International Meeting Spotlights Conservation Agriculture's Role in Mitigating Climate Change

... in a mass of soil 2.5 acres in area and 3 feet deep. Complex chemistry dictates that the soil can only sequester a limited amount of carbon per year, and that after a certain number of years – scientists believe it is 15 to 20 years – a field reaches a plateau. To make it even more complex, the soil's capacity to store carbon depends on soil type, tillage system, the use of cover crops, cropping history and how much carbon it lost in the first place. Research from highly degraded soils in South America put into improved pasture showed dramatic jumps in carbon levels after five years – much higher storage than Midwestern soils in the U.S. Deep-rooted pasture plants also have the capacity to place carbon deeper into poor South American soils than annual crops do in cooler c ... more.

A Look Back and a Glimpse into 2009

... and wastewater and energy utilities to learn about water quality credit trading. The positive feedback we received on the format and content of the workshop was inspiring and will help us to deliver three more workshops in 2009. In September, CTIC was awarded a Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service(NRCS) for a project that promotes the use of cover crops to transition producers to a continuous no-till farming system. Working with partners in Ohio and Indiana, we are pairing producers and crop consultants to work together to identify and incorporate cover crops into their new system. We will track progress and report results as producers begin the transition in spring. Next year, we'll offer workshops and networking meetings to spark new ideas ... more.

Cover Crop

A close-growing crop that temporarily protects the soil when crop residues are not adequate. How it works Crops including cereal rye, oats, clover, hairy vetch, and winter wheat are planted to temporarily protect the ground from wind and water erosion during times when cropland isn't adequately protected against soil erosion. How it helps Cover crops keep ground covered, add organic matter to the soil, trap nutrients, improve soil tilth and reduce weed competition. Planning ahead Do you have a seeding method that won't harm standing crops? Are adequate soil conservation measures installed? Tech notes Cover crops are most often recommended when low residue producing crops such as soybeans or corn silage are grown on erodi ... more.

Don't miss the CTIC Conservation In Action Tour 2008

... a homemade injector attached to a hose nearly two miles long • Reduced water content by 50 percent with new technology that manages pigs' use of water Rulon Enterprises , Arcadia, Indiana • 15 years of no-till for corn and soybeans • Extensive use of precision agriculture technology to create a whole-farm fertility record • Integrated manure management and cover crops used in conservation system • Drainage managed and buffers incorporated for a total resource management system Beck's Hybrids , Atlanta, Indiana • Largest U.S. independent retail seed company • 18-year no-till demonstration plots in Practical Farm Research™ (PFR) program • Other studies look at strip-till and strip cropping with various crop combinati ... more.

Top Ten IPM Tips

... Tips 10. Soil Management: Providing sufficient amounts of crop residue on the soil surface improves organic matter of the soil. Soil testing and applying proper amounts of fertilizer and micronutrients provides for optimum growing environment. 9. Cultural Practices: The pest’s environment is disrupted by rotating crops, and timely harvesting of crops. Planting cover crops can suppress weed pressure and provide nitrogen and better soil tilth. 8. Planting: Plant crops that have good vigor and that can tolerate or resist common problems. The timing of planting should coincide within the optimum planting dates recommended. Row spacing, intercropping, trap crops and other alternative strategies can be looked at to discourage or detract pests. 7. Pes ... more.

Research and Technology Briefs Dec 2008 II

Research & Technology Briefs By Rachel Doctor Midwest Cover Crops Council Web Site Introduced Midwestern farmers wanting to learn more about cover crops now have a central information source where they can easily find practical ways to use them. The Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) recently introduced a Web site as an educational tool to help expand the knowledge compiled since the group's formation two years ago to farmers and others in agr ... more.

Wildlife Upland Habitat

Creating, maintaining or improving food and cover for upland wildlife. How it works Planting trees, shrubs, grass and other vegetation that provide cover and food will attract wildlife to an area. The type of habitat provided will determine the kind and numbers of wildlife attracted. How it ... more.

Sidedress Phosphorus + MicroEssentials

... Time Make nutrients available when crops need them Time the application Consider controlled release technologies and inhibitors Choose fertilizer product Right Place Keep nutrients where crops can use them Choose application method Incorporate fertilizer Use buffer strips Use conservation tillage Implement cover crop systems Right Rate Match amount of fertilizer to crop needs Test soils Yield goal analysis Crop removal balance Nutrient management planning Plant tissue analysis Record keeping Variable rate technology Site-specific management Sponsor

Countour Strip Cropping

... and contouring combined in equal-width strips of corn or soybeans planted on the contour and alternated with strips of oats, grass or legumes. How it works Crops are arranged so that a strip of meadow or small grain is alternated with a strip of row crop. Not more than half a field can be planted to row crops. Meadow slows runoff, increases infiltration, traps sediment and provides surface cover. Ridges formed by contoured rows slow water flow which reduces erosion. Rotating the strips from corn to legumes allows nutrient-needy crops to benefit from the nitrogen added to the soil by legumes. This practice combines the beneficial effects of contouring and crop rotation. How it helps Contour stripcropping reduces soil erosion and protects water quality. Contour stripcropping may h ... more.

Sidedress Phosphorus + MicroEssentials

... Consider controlled release technologies and inhibitors + Choose fertilizer product Right Place Keep nutrients where crops can use them + Choose application method + Incorporate fertilizer + Use buffer strips + Use conservation tillage + Implement cover crop systems Right Rate Match amount of fertilizer to crop needs + Test soils + Yield goal analysis + Crop removal balance + Nutrient management planning + Plant tissue analysis + Record keeping + Variable rate technology ... more.

Great Lakes Cover Crop Initiative Watershed Coordinators

A highly qualified crop consultant (watershed coordinator) has been identified in each watershed to provide one on one technical support to the producers who participate in this program. These people will meet with producers and help them make important decisions to ensure a successful transition to using a cover crop and conservation tillage system. Lake Michigan Coordinator Christina Curell Central Region Water Quality Educator, Mecosta 14485 Northland Drive Big Rapids, MI, 49307 Phone: (231) 592-0792 Cell: (231) 287-8617 Email: curellc@msu.edu Christina graduated from Mic ... more.

Strip-till Nitrogen

... Traub’s grow corn, soybeans and specialty hybrid seed corn, as well as hybrid sunflowers. The operation includes over 4,000 acres and has grown steadily through teamwork and solid relationships. Livingston County SWCD named the Traub’s Conservation Farm Family of 2010. Conservation Systems Strip-till corn and no-till beans in rotation cover the majority of our acres. A continuous corn system, matched with conservation mulch till and some strip-till, is used on our flatter and more productive farms or where manure is available for the fertility requirements. Producers! Interested in trying one of our demonstration practices? Contact Terry Bachtold at 815-848-4455. More... ... more.

Woodland Management

Improving the quality and quantity of woodland growing stock and maintaining ground cover and litter for soil and water conservation. How it works Existing woodland or other suitable land is dedicated to timber production. Livestock is excluded. Optimum tree populations are determined by the kinds of trees planted and their adaptability to your soils. Existing trees or newly planted trees are thinned, pruned and harvested to maintain desired production. Twigs, limbs and other ... more.

Critical Area Planting

Planting grass or other vegetation to protect a badly eroding area from soil erosion. How it works Grass, legumes, trees or shrubs are established in small, isolated areas of excessive erosion. The vegetation provides surface cover to stop the raindrop splash and slow water flow. How it helps It reduces soil erosion. A vegetated area improves water quality by reducing the amount of sediment, nutrients and chemicals running off farmland. Protects areas such as dams, terrace backslopes or gullied areas when vegetation may be difficult to establish. Vegetation can be planted to provide small areas of nesting cove ... more.

Feature Story June 2010

Chicken litter being loaded into spreader truck in Northern Louisiana. Photo courtesy of USDA. Nurturing Crops, Protecting the Environment Emphasis on Sound Nutrient Management By Christa Martin Jones The emphasis on more and better nutrient management promises advances in farm profitability, conservation technology, and water quality improvements. Agriculture'sability to marry economy and environment, planning and implementation, and research and technology transfe ... more.

Apply gypsum to your fields to balance soil structure, Improve nutrient uptake, and yield heartier, healthier crops

Apply gypsum to your fields to balance soil structure, Improve nutrient uptake, and yield heartier, healthier crops There are thousands of agricultural products that claim to increase yields—from the latest hybrids to implements and electronic gadgetry. As a grower, you do everything it takes to maximize output with the least amount of input costs. But as input prices continue to increase, and margins become increasingly thinner, many growers are getting back to basics ... more.

Manure: What’s It Worth?

... Management program. Part of predicting crop response is recognizing which nutrient(s) are boosting yields. Commercial fertilizer can be tailored to match crop needs, in proportion, for each nutrient in a single application. Manure, on the other hand, tends to be relatively high in P and K and low in N. As a result, applying enough manure to supply the nitrogen needs of certain crops can cause an over-application of P and K. Conversely, setting manure rates by P and K levels leaves the crop hungry for more N than the manure can provide. “P and K saturation [in the soil] reduces the value of the manure from a farmer’s perspective because it’s then worth just the value of the nitrogen,” notes Rauch. “In that case, they may be better o ... more.

Demonstration: Slow Release Fertilizer

... Time Make nutrients available when crops need them Time the application Consider controlled release technologies and inhibitors Choose fertilizer product Right Place Keep nutrients where crops can use them Choose application method Incorporate fertilizer Use buffer strips Use conservation tillage Implement cover crop systems Right Rate Match amount of fertilizer to crop needs Test soils Yield goal analysis Crop removal balance Nutrient management planning Plant tissue analysis Record keeping Variable rate technology Site-specific management Sponsors

Slow Release Fertilizer

... release technologies and inhibitors + Choose fertilizer product Right Place Keep nutrients where crops can use them + Choose application method + Incorporate fertilizer + Use buffer strips + Use conservation tillage + Implement cover crop systems Right Rate Match amount of fertilizer to crop needs + Test soils + Yield goal analysis + Crop removal balance + Nutrient management planning + Plant tissue analysis + Record keeping + V ... more.

Wildlife Food Plot

... when food supplies are in short supply. How it helps Standing crops with unharvested grain give food to wildlife that may otherwise not be accessible after heavy snows or ice. A food plot helps maintain wildlife on your farm by providing food. Planning ahead Will the crop you plan to plant or leave standing in the field attract the wildlife you want? Is there adequate cover and water near the food plot to support wildlife? Are you endangering wildlife by placing the food plot too close to high traffic areas? Tech notes Planting dates range from March 1 to June 15 depending on the crop. * Food plots should be planted on the least erosive areas of the selected field. Plots on slopes steeper than 5% should be planted on the contour. A plot can be pl ... more.

Tree Planting

... it works A variety of desired tree species, either seedlings or seeds, are planted mechanically or by hand in understocked woodlands or open fields. Tree species are matched with soil types and selected to prevent soil erosion, increase income, or boost productivity of existing woodland. How it helps Improving stands of woodlands can increase profits. Ground cover created by trees and associated debris protects soil from rill and sheet erosion. Ground cover also protects water quality by filtering excess nutrients and chemicals from surface runoff and increasing infiltration rates. Healthy, well-managed woodlands provide long-term wildlife habitat. Planning ahead Is the soil suitable for producing wood crops? Is the soil suitable for the tree ... more.

What are Conservation Buffers?

... a producer’s commitment to conservation and their willingness to protect the environment. Benefits of Conservation Buffers * Slow water runoff. * Remove up to 50% or more of nutrients and pesticides in runoff. * Remove up do 60% or more of pathogens in runoff. * Remove up to 75% or more of sediment in runoff. * Reduce noise and odor. * Serve as a source of food, nesting cover, and shelter for wildlife. * Stabilize streambanks and reduce water temperature in stream. * Provide a setback distance for agricultural chemical use from watercourses. * reduce downstream flooding * Represents profitable, common sense conservation for landowners. * Reduced risk of tractor rollover due to set back of steep ditch or creek. * Take advantage of incentives. provided to es ... more.

Grassed Waterway

... drainage way is graded and shaped to form a smooth, bowl-shaped channel. This area is seeded to sod-forming grasses. Runoff water that flows down the drainage way flows across the grass rather than tearing away soil and forming a larger gully. An outlet is often installed at the base of the drainage way to stabilize the waterway and prevent a new gully from forming. How it helps Grass cover protects the drainage way from gully erosion. Vegetation may act as a filter, absorbing some of the chemicals and nutrients in runoff water. Vegetation provides cover for small birds and animals. Planning ahead Is major land reshaping needed? Is there a proper outlet for surface runoff at the bottom of the waterway? Are soil conservation measures installed to prevent siltation? ... more.

Field Border

... rows, which would be planted up and down hill and be highly erosive. Field borders are sometimes referred to as picture frames of grass, and are used with contour farming, terrace, buffer strip and contour stripcropping systems. The grass or legume in the strip protects steep field edges from soil erosion, and provides turning and travel lanes around the field. How it helps Vegetative cover reduces sheet and rill erosion by slowing water flow. Vegetation filters runoff to improve water quality. Grass and legume strips may be harvested in some cases and are easier to turn on than end rows. Vegetation provides cover and habitat for small birds and animals. Planning ahead Will the width be wide enough to turn your equipment? Can that land qualify for set aside? Tech ... more.

Crop Residue Management

Leaving last year's crop residue on the soil surface by limiting tillage. Includes no-till, mulch-till and ridge till. How it works Leaving last year's crop residue on the surface before and during planting operations provides cover for the soil at a critical time of the year. The residue is left on the surface by reducing tillage operations and turning the soil less. Pieces of crop residue shield soil particles from rain and wind until plants can produce a protective canopy. How it helps Ground cover prevents soil erosion and protects water quality. Residue improves soil tilth and adds organic matter to t ... more.

CTIC News

... — all vital to keeping up with the world’s growing demand for food, feed, fuel and fiber. A new booklet developed by the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) — “Facilitating Conservation Farming Practices and Enhancing Environmental Sustainability with Agricultural Biotechnology” — digs deep into the data surrounding the adoption of biotech crops. Among many important statistics, the document describes: The projected growth of the global population to 9 billion by 2040; The 69-percent increase in no-till farming since the 1996 introduction of herbicide-resistant crops; A drop in herbicide usage of 47.4 million pounds of active ingredient where herbicide-tolerant soybeans or cotton were planted in the Unit ... more.

Pest Management

Evaluating and using a tailored pest management system to reduce crop and environmental damages. Scouting is done to identify insects, weeds and diseases. How it works Crops are scouted to determine type of pests—insects, weeds and diseases—and the stage of development. The potential damage of the pest is then weighed against the cost of control. Finally, if pest control is economical, all alternatives are evaluated based on cost, results, and environmental impact. Precaution is taken to keep any chemicals from leaving the field by leaching, r ... more.

Exploring Biotechnology

Agricultural biotechnology delivers more than just streamlined pest management options or the promise of healthier, higher quality crops. Biotech-derived crops allow growers to adopt sustainable farming practices ranging from conservation tillage to integrated pest management. Those practices protect soil, water and air quality and allow producers to sustain our natural resources as well as our lives and lifestyles. The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), with funding from the United Soybean Board, has produced ... more.

Demonstration: Nitrogen Application Timing

... Time Make nutrients available when crops need them Time the application Consider controlled release technologies and inhibitors Choose fertilizer product Right Place Keep nutrients where crops can use them Choose application method Incorporate fertilizer Use buffer strips Use conservation tillage Implement cover crop systems Right Rate Match amount of fertilizer to crop needs Test soils Yield goal analysis Crop removal balance Nutrient management planning Plant tissue analysis Record keeping Variable rate technology Site-specific management Sponsors

Nitrogen Application Timing

... Consider controlled release technologies and inhibitors + Choose fertilizer product Right Place Keep nutrients where crops can use them + Choose application method + Incorporate fertilizer + Use buffer strips + Use conservation tillage + Implement cover crop systems Right Rate Match amount of fertilizer to crop needs + Test soils + Yield goal analysis + Crop removal balance + Nutrient management planning + Plant tissue analysis + Record keeping + Variable rate technolog ... more.

Contour Buffer Strip

... are placed across the slope on a contour. The alternating strips of grass or other permanent vegetation slow runoff flow, trap sediment from the crop strips above, and increase water infiltration. Because the buffer strip is established on the contour, runoff flows evenly across the entire surface of the grass strip, reducing sheet and rill erosion. How it helps Vegetation provides cover and habitat for small birds and animals. The strips reduce erosion by slowing water flow and increasing water infiltration. By reducing siltation and filtering nutrients and chemicals from runoff, grass strips improve water quality. Planning ahead Have you decided whether you want parallel crop strips or parallel buffer strips? Are other conservation measures such as crop res ... more.

Nutrient Management

... realistic yield goals? Are proper soil conservation measures installed? Have you accounted for nitrogen credits produced by legume crops? Tech notes Choose best application method. Use broadcast, starter, surface band or injection. Use the late spring nitrogen test when appropriate when corn plants are between 6 to 12 inches tall. * Avoid applying manure on frozen or snow-covered ground if possible. Use nitrogen inhibitor if nitrogen is fall applied. * Use nitrogen monitor if applying anhydrous ammonia to apply correct amount. Maintenance Test soils once every 2-4 years according to Extension recommendations. * Analyze manure and other organic waste for nutrient content before field application. Establish a winter cover crop of there's a poss ... more.

Integrated Manure Management: Good Neighbors, Good Business

... his son Dave and his son-in-law Chris have also built a thriving manure custom application business—last year, they applied more than 25 million gallons of manure. They’ve designed and built application equipment to deliver manure to the soil as directly and odor-free as possible, with minimal disturbance of surface crop residues. When Dave and Chris get going, they can cover 6 to 11 acres an hour, delivering as much as 7,500 gallons of manure per acre at up to 3.5 mph. On a 22-foot toolbar, they mounted heavy Genesis Tillage aeration tines at a 7-degree offset in front of huge nozzles to create what Dave Beard calls a “poke, lift, squirt” surface-application system. On another toolbar, the family mounted 11 straight coulters on 22-inch cen ... more.

Cover crop effects on the fate of N following soil application of swine manure.

The objectives of this study were to determine if a rye (Secale cereale L.) cover crop increases N retention after soil application of swine lagoon slurry. <span style="font-size:11.0pt; line-height:115%;Calibri" ,"sans-serif";times="" new="" roman";times="" roman";"="">Cover crop effects on the fate of N following soil application of swine manure

Pasture Planting

... grass and legumes to reduce soil erosion and improve production. How it works Drill or broadcast adapted grass or legumes into a low-producing pasture or a steep, eroding cropland field. How it helps Heavy grass cover slows water flow, reducing soil erosion. Good pastures protect water quality by filtering runoff water and increasing infiltration. Lush pastures give cover and habitat for wildlife. As plants recycle and roots die, organic matter in the soil is improved. Planning ahead Are selected species suited to your soil types? Have you chosen species that will help you reduce the use of pes ... more.

EPA’s New CAFO Rule Changes “Duty to Apply” for NPDES Permit

... Hydrology Tool, or equivalent analytic tools. The evaluation must incorporate 100 years of data to show that the facility is designed, built and managed to absolutely prevent discharge in storage, during storms and after land application. Wiedeman points out that accidents and other occasional discharges are not uncommon in the livestock industry, but they are illegal unless they are covered by an NPDES permit – a no-discharge certification provides only partial legal cover or protection. Nutrient Management Plans Preventing discharges of nutrients, fecal coliform and other contents of manure encompasses more than the capacity of lagoons and dikes. It’s about soils, hydrology and management, too. Nutrient management plans address those other fact ... more.

Demonstrations

... Tillage Fall Nitrogen Application We designed this study to demonstrate differences in nitrogen rates and yields under the same nitrogen product, where the producer planted corn for two consecutive growing seasons. We conducted this trial to: demonstrate strip... Read more. Strip-till Nitrogen Keep nutrients in the Right Place, where crops can use them. The farmer uses real-time kinematic precision guidance to apply N fertilizer in fall or early spring in a closely-controlled location relative to... Read more. SUPERU SUPERU®, a urea based product, contains urease and denitrification inhibitors within the fertilizer granule. Koch Agronomic Services created SUPERU® to increase crops’ nitrogen ... more.

Bioenergy Productions

Argonne National Laboratory found a home for its biomass test site on the Ray Popejoy farm in the Indian Creek watershed. Argonne is exploring the potential for farmers to employ underused or marginal land to produce crops for biomass energy. Factors studied include economic potential and water quality benefits. As this project moves forward, funding from the Department of Energy is expected to support the scientific investigation and field study. Agribusiness will assist with identifying potential supply chain participants. The project will address: the disconnection between producers and u ... more.

FACILITATING CONSERVATION FARMING PRACTICES AND ENHANCING ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY WITH AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY

... provided by the United Soybean Board, updated its 2003 publication on conservation tillage and biotechnology. CTIC's new publication, "Facilitating Conservation Farming Practices and Enhancing Environmental Sustainability with Agricultural Biotechnology", explores the environmental benefits of conservation tillage practices, which are facilitated significantly by biotechnology crops. The publication, reviewed by a panel of experts, shows the dramatic improvements in environmental sustainability and productivity over the past several years. Among many important statistics, the document describes: The projected growth of the global population to 9 billion by 2040 The 69 percent increase in no-till farming since the 1996 introduction of herbici ... more.

Glyphosate, Weeds and Crops: Understanding Glyphosate to Increase Performance

This publication examines the factors that affect glyphosate performance and offers management strategies to minimize fluctuations in its effectiveness. The Glyphosate, Weeds, and Crops Series: Understanding Glyphosate To Increase Performance

Switching to Conservation Tillage

Biotech crops have reduced the risks and challenges of switching to conservation tillage or no-till practices. Since glyphosate-tolerant crops were introduced in 1996, acreage of no-till full-season soybeans in the U.S. has increased by nearly 70%. Click here to see the data.

Strip Till Nitrogen Application

... Kristin joined the operation. The Traub’s grow corn, soybeans and specialty hybrid seed corn, as well as hybrid sunflowers. The operation includes over 4,000 acres and has grown steadily through teamwork and solid relationships. Livingston County SWCD named the Traub’s Conservation Farm Family of 2010. Conservation Systems Strip-till corn and no-till beans in rotation cover the majority of our acres. A continuous corn system, matched with conservation mulch till and some strip-till, is used on our flatter and more productive farms or where manure is available for the fertility requirements. Producers! Interested in trying one of our demonstration practices? Contact Terry Bachtold at 815-848-4455. Right Source Match fertilizer type to ... more.

Whatcom County Dairy Farmers Tackle Water Quality Challenges

... the nutrients from three to four applications of manure per year. Heavy growth and mild winter weather generally yield five cuttings per year, cycling nutrients back to their 710 cows. The brothers also practice “relay cropping.” As they cultivate 270 acres of corn ground in early summer, they blow on 30 to 50 pounds of grass seed per acre. After the corn is harvested, a lush cover crop is already in place to protect soil from erosion, capture nutrients in the soil, and filter sediment from stormwater. The brothers apply manure, harvest the grass for forage in the spring, then plant corn again. “It’s usually winter Italian ryegrass or cereal rye,” said Lenssen. “They grow well over the winter, take manure in the spring, and they’re good feed ... more.

Agricultural Drainage Management: Benefits Could Range from the Bin to the Gulf

... a more regulatory approach," he predicts. "I'd rather be part of a preemptive movement." Drainage Water Management Is Part of the Conservation Agriculture Continuum Grower Tony Thompson of Windom, Minn., sees his drainage water management system as an integral part of his broad approach to conservation agriculture, which includes ridge-till, cover cropping, closed tile intakes and other best management practices. "The farmer has to think about water before the rain droplets strike the soil," Thompson notes. "The first thought is how to try to prevent the raindrop from striking bare soil. Once it's on the soil surface, we want it seeping into the ground and not running off the field, so we're working on ... more.

Projects side column (Cover Crop)

Ag Consultant Training in Systems that Protect Water Quality National Aquatic Resources Workshop National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS) Cover Crop Surveys

Cover Crop Webinars

Cover Crop Webinars (Cisco Seeds)

Cover crop and soil quality interactions in agroecosystems.

Maintaining environmental quality implies sustainable agricultural production systems that preserve and prated soil resources. <span style="font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;Calibri" ,"sans-serif";times="" new="" roman";times="" roman";"="">Cover crop and soil quality interactions in agroecosystems.

COVER CROP FIELD DAYS

CTIC's cover crop projects are working with numerous partners to bring quality field days to producers throughout our project areas. Click here to find details about the many events.

Windbreak

Rows of trees and shrubs that protect areas from wind and provide food and cover for wildlife. How it works Multiple rows of coniferous trees or a combination of coniferous and deciduous trees are planted to protect a farmstead or feedlot from wind and snow. One or two rows of shrubs are also often planted. The established windbreak slows wind on the downwind side of the windbreak for a distance of 10 times the height of the t ... more.

Water and Sediment Control Basin

... area of concentrated water runoff to act similar to a terrace. It traps sediment and water running off farmland above the structure, preventing it from reaching farmland below. How it helps Basins improve water quality by trapping sediment on uplands and preventing it from reaching water bodies. Structures reduce gully erosion by controlling water flow within a drainage area. Grass cover may provide habitat for wildlife. Planning ahead Will basins be part of an existing terrace system? Is the site too steep for the basin to work properly or be economically feasible? Can adequate outlets be provided? Tech notes The uncontrolled area draining into the basin must not exceed 50 acres. * Build the basin large enough to control the runoff from a 10-year storm with ... more.

Stream Protection

... riprap and gabions are installed along the edges of a stream to buffer the banks from heavy stream flow and reduce erosion. Fencing prevents cattle from trampling banks, destroying vegetation and stirring up sediment in the streambed. A buffer zone of vegetation along the streambank filters runoff and may also absorb excess nutrients and chemicals. How it helps Streambanks are covered with rocks, grass, trees or other cover to reduce erosion. Better water quality results from reducing amounts of nutrients, chemicals, animal waste and sediment entering the stream. Buffer zones provide cover and habitat for birds and small animals. Planning ahead Have you planned to install an offstream water system for livestock or limited livestock access to the stream? Are pro ... more.

Filter Strip

... reach water bodies or water sources including wells. How it works Strips of grass, trees and/or shrubs slow water flow and cause contaminants like sediment, pesticides, and fertilizers to collect in vegetation. Collected nutrients are used by the vegetation, rather than entering water supplies. Filtered water then enters water bodies. How it helps Grass, trees and shrubs provide cover for small birds and animals. Ground cover reduces soil erosion. The vegetative strip moves rowcrop operations farther from a stream. Vegetation prevents contaminants from entering water bodies, protecting water quality. Planning ahead Are adequate soil conservation measures installed above filter strips? Are plants adapted to your soil types? Have you selected the correct specie ... more.

Diversion

... a slope to divert runoff away from bottom lands. A diversion may also be used to divert runoff flows away from a feedlot, or to collect and direct water to a pond. How it helps Reduces soil erosion on lowlands by catching runoff water and preventing it from reaching farmland below. Vegetation in the diversion channel filters runoff water, improving water quality. Vegetation provides cover for small birds and animals. Allows better crop growth on bottom land soils. Planning ahead Are there proper soil conservation measures installed to prevent the diversion from filling with sediment? Is the outlet planned in a location which will not cause erosion? Is the diversion and outlet large enough to handle the runoff amount for that location? Tech notes Diversions ca ... more.

November Newsletter - Combine Wheat Image

Food companies want to source sustainably produced crops. CTIC is helping create those supply lines.

About

... updates, news releases and more. On-farm demonstrations showcase the latest products, techniques, equipment and tools for resource conservation.With funding from USDA, CTIC will employ tile outlet monitoring to measure water quality. CTIC and Livingston SWCD partner with Argonne National Laboratories to study the growth and water quality effects of bio-energy crops in the Indian Creek watershed. Through a USDA Mississippi River Basin Initiative grant, USDA-NRCS and Livingston County SWCD provide financial assistance to farmers implementing best resource management practices. Every farmer in the watershed will be contacted to implement conservation practices/systems. Illinois native Dr. Harold F. Reetz, ... more.

2014 Tour Wrap-Up

... year! ~Bertrhude Albert, University of Florida doctoral student in agricultural education and communication Tour Wrap-up from CTIC: Let our tour mascots guide you through all the action in Florida with a tour of the tour. You can also read our in-depth look at the topics, sights and scenes of the 2014 tour. Media Coverage: Here are some of the stories about the tour from the media: Several stories on AgWired See the Action: Check out the 2014 tour photo gallery to explore what the tour had to offer. Through our tour videos below, see: Sugarcane harvesting Sugarcane planting Barn owls ... more.

SUPERU®

SUPERU®, a urea based product, contains urease and denitrification inhibitors within the fertilizer granule. Koch Agronomic Services created SUPERU® to increase crops’ nitrogen uptake and efficiency. We designed this trial to determine the Most Economical Rate of Nitrogen (MERN) and to compare spring, surface applied urea verses spring applied SUPERU®. SUPERU® showed the highest agronomic efficiency of all the products compared in our NUE trials. When surface applied on no-till corn after corn, SUPERU®'s returned $106.00 more tha ... more.

SUPERU®

SUPERU®, a urea based product, contains urease and denitrification inhibitors within the fertilizer granule. Koch Agronomic Services created SUPERU® to increase crops’ nitrogen uptake and efficiency. We designed this trial to determine the Most Economical Rate of Nitrogen (MERN) and to compare spring, surface applied urea verses spring applied SUPERU®. SUPERU® showed the highest agronomic efficiency of all the products compared in our NUE trials. When surface applied on no-till corn after corn, SUPERU®'s returned $106.00 more tha ... more.

REGISTER TODAY FOR 2016 TOUR

Join us for an up-close look at innovative conservation practices on a wide range of crops and farms in Idaho's Treasure Valley, August 23-24. Seats go fast for these great programs - register now!

Syngenta

Syngenta's ambition is to bring greater food security in an environmentally sustainable way to an increasingly populous world by creating a worldwide step-change in farm productivity. Through deploying world-class science, we aim to transform the way crops are grown and look beyond yield. Conservation is a key part of that step-change. Syngenta is a long-time supporter of CTIC and the Center's efforts to study and advocate conservation farming in the Mississippi River Basin, across the U.S. and worldwide.

Sidedress Phosphorus + MicroEssentials

Keep nutrients in the Right Place, where crops can use them.

Strip Till Fall N Application

Keep nutrients in the Right Place, where crops can use them.

Phosphorus Sidedress with MicroEssentials®

... so we demonstrated The Mosaic Company's MicroEssentials applied as a side-dress (plant nutrients placed on or in the soil near the roots of a growing crop to provide an additional boost in available phosphorus) in a corn after corn no-tilled field. The Mosaic Company designed MicroEssentials ® to allow uniform nutrient distribution and provide essential nutrients crops need in one granule, with two forms of sulfur for season-long nutrition. The MicroEssentials

SUPERU

SUPERU®, a urea based product, contains urease and denitrification inhibitors within the fertilizer granule. Koch Agronomic Services created SUPERU® to increase crops’ nitrogen uptake and efficiency. We designed this trial to determine the Most Economical Rate of Nitrogen (MERN) and to compare spring, surface applied urea verses spring applied SUPERU®. SUPERU® showed the highest agronomic efficiency of all the products compared in our NUE trials. When surface applied on no-till corn after corn, SUPERU® ... more.

Facilitating Conservation Farming Practices and Enhancing Environmental Sustainability with Agricultural Biotechnology

CTIC's new publication, Facilitating Conservation Farming Practices and Enhancing Environmental Sustainability with Agricultural Biotechnology. This publication explores the breadth of the environmental benefits of conservation tillage practices, which are facilitated significantly by biotechnology crops. Access the full document or executive summary to learn about the dramatic improvements in environmental sustainability and productivity over the past several years.

Manure Management Planner - Purdue University Department of Agronomy

Manure Management Planner (MMP) is a Windows-based computer program developed at Purdue University that is used to create manure management plans for crop and animal feeding operations. The user enters information about the operation's fields, crops, storage, animals, and application equipment. MMP helps the user allocate manure (where, when and how much) on a monthly basis for the length of the plan. Purdue's MMP currently supports 34 states. more

Putting Producers in the Driver's Seat

... rainfall data, soil profile water level, water purity and flow rates. Using these systems, producers can retain water through the fallow months, preserving nitrogen and other nutrients; lower the water table level for fieldwork in the spring; and raise it again through the growing season. The water table level can be adjusted according to weather conditions and the needs of the crops and environment, and adjustments can be made to reduce flooding in response to rainfall. Drainage water management provides many conservation benefits. Proper drainage water management can increase soil organic matter content. Prior to fieldwork, drainage can help eliminate compaction problems. Increasing moisture can help control wind erosion. And, less n ... more.

American Society of Agronomy

... Science Society of America (CSSA), and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) share a close working relationship as well as the same headquarters office. Each of the three Societies is autonomous, has its own bylaws, and is governed by its own Board of Directors. Society members are dedicated to the conservation and wise use of natural resources to produce food, feed, and fiber crops while maintaining and improving the environment. To learn more about the American Society of Agronomy, visit www.agronomy.org

A Race Against Time

To meet the projected soybean demand of 2030, growers would have to add 168 million acres of soybeans to existing production if global yields remained the same as today, or double those yields to 59.5 bushels per acre to harvest enough soybeans on today’s acreage. Biotech crops show promise to double or triple the current rate of yield increase in corn, and match or exceed the average 0.5-bushel-per-acre annual increase in soybean yields.

Protecting the Environment

By facilitating the switch to conservation tillage, biotech crops have helped dramatically reduce soil erosion and water pollution, increase carbon sequestration, and lower the use of crop protection chemicals by millions of pounds per year.

Biotechnology

CTIC's new publication, Facilitating Conservation Farming Practices and Enhancing Environmental Sustainability with Agricultural Biotechnology, explores the breadth of the environmental benefits of conservation tillage practices, which are facilitated significantly by biotechnology crops. Access the full document and executive summary to learn about the dramatic improvements in environmental sustainability and productivity over the past several years. According to Dr. Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution, farmers must produce more food in the next 50 years than has been produced in the past 10,000 years combined – and they’ll need to do it in an en ... more.

Conservation Tillage Photos and Graphics

... to improve water quality. Size: 1000 x 672 pixels (447k) Source: CTIC Standing stalks of corn (in the foreground) will slowly decompose to provide a natural mulch for the new seeds that are to be planted by the oncoming tractor. Size: 671 x 1000 pixels (176k) Source: Farm Journal Rows of soybean plants emerge from a field covered with old corn stalks from the previous harvest. These soybeans were planted in narrower (15-inch) rows because as they mature their big leaves will quickly shade the ground, making it harder for the sun to warm weed seeds that may lie between the rows. This natural canopy from the growing soybean plants can help farmers reduce the need for herbicides (weed killers). Size: 671 x 1000 pixe ... more.

Top 10 Conservation Tillage Benefits

... soil clumps) making it easier for plants to establish roots. Improved soil tilth also can minimize compaction. Of course, compaction is also reduced by reducing trips across the field. 5. Increases organic matter The latest research shows the more soil is tilled, the more carbon is released to the air and the less carbon is available to build organic matter for future crops. In fact, carbon accounts for about half of organic matter. 6. Traps soil moisture to improve water availability Keeping crop residue on the surface traps water in the soil by providing shade. The shade reduces water evaporation. In addition, residue acts as tiny dams slowing runoff and increasing the opportunity for water to soak into the soil. Another way infiltration incr ... more.

Research and Technology Briefs

... science-based guidelines for managing crop rotations in organic farming. Crop Rotation on Organic Farms: A Planning Manual helps farmers use rotations to build better soil; control pests, weeds and diseases; and develop profitable farms. Consulting with expert organic farmers, the authors share rotation strategies that can be applied under various field conditions and with a wide range of crops. To learn more, or to download or purchase a copy of this manual, visit www.sare.org/publications/croprotation.htm. Farmers can take steps to reduce manure pathogens in runoff Scientists with The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center say farmers who apply manure as a fertilizer to their no-till field can decrease the chance that pathogen ... more.

Field Days Featured Tools for Farm Profitability

... fields. The Delta Center’s Matt Rhine discussed in-season nitrogen application. “To apply the optimal nitrogen rate, we detect and correct nitrogen needs during the growing season,” said Rhine, who has worked as a research associate for over four years. His work has included developing and conducting research concerning production practices and nutrient management on several crops, including rice. The afternoon featured Dr. Peter Scharf’s presentation of “on-the-go” nitrogen sensors. With this technology, optical sensors attached to the front of a tractor or fertilizer applicator measure plant size and color. A computer tells the applicator where and how much fertilizer to apply as the farmer drives. Dr. Peter Scharf is an associate professor at the ... more.

New Publication on Biotechnology

CTIC's new publication, Facilitating Conservation Farming Practices and Enhancing Environmental Sustainability with Agricultural Biotechnology, explores the breadth of the environmental benefits of conservation tillage practices, which are facilitated significantly by biotechnology crops. Access the full document and executive summary to learn about the dramatic improvements in environmental sustainability and productivity over the past several years. According to Dr. Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution, farmers must produce more food in the next 50 years than has been produced in the past 10,000 years combined – and they’ll need to do it in an env ... more.

What is a Crop Nutrient Management Plan?

... Recommended timing. When does the soil temperature drop below 50 degrees? Will a nitrogen stabilizer be used? What’s the tillage practice? Strip-till corn and no-till corn require different timing approaches than corn planted into a field that’s been tilled once with a field cultivator. Will a starter fertilizer be used to give the seedling a healthy start? How many acres can be covered with available labor (custom or hired) and equipment? Does your manure application depend on a custom applicator’s schedule? What agreements have been worked out with neighbors for manure use on their fields? Is a neighbor hosting a special event over the weekend? All these factors and more will likely figure into the recommended timing. 9. Recommended methods. Surface or injected? W ... more.

Planning Now Can Avoid Permit Later

... Operations (CAFOs) to apply for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. Set to limit the discharges of pathogens, ammonia and other water quality parameters like biological oxygen demand, NPDES permits put the livestock operations, at some levels, in the same category as industrial facilities like wastewater treatment plants or paper mills. The NPDES program covers approximately 15,500 CAFOs, which account for 60 percent of the manure generated by operations that confine animals for 45 days or longer over a 12-month period. But the good news for more than 34,000 producers is that the federal government is providing a golden opportunity for medium-sized outfits to avoid the permit requirement by simply preventing the discharge of manure to surface waters. ... more.

CROP RESIDUE MANAGEMENT SURVEY

... assessment data as a core component of local watershed management plans. Activities CTIC is working to develop new software that will simplify the collection process, allow data to upload to CTIC's web site with a click of a button and tie collection points to GPS coordinates. With Purdue University, CTIC is exploring the use of remote sensing technology to estimate residue cover and, ideally, increase efficiency and accuracy of data collection. For More Information Visit the CRM Survey web page at www.ctic.org/CRM.

All In On Cover Crop

Corn and Soybean Digest, April 2018

Cover Crop Math Back Button

CTIC Projects « Cover Crops Research and Demonstration « Let's Do the Math On Cover Crops

Sustainable Supply Chains

... the new metric. Supporting Supply Chain Sustainability CTIC recently began a new phase of a project funded by Iowa's Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. In cooperation with Practical Farmers of Iowa and The Nature Conservancy, CTIC is leading the development of a program that will train and incentivize retail agronomists to become advocates for conservation systems built around cover cropping. The project areas have been selected to leverage ongoing, privately funded supply chain sustainability initiatives.

…and looking forward to 2018!

... agriculture is actively addressing water quality concerns. Helping farmers and members of the supply chain document how they are sustainably providing commodities to downstream partners and how farming more sustainably can have a positive impact on the farmer’s bottom line. Working with partners to implement a remote sensing project that can help to estimate crop residue amounts and cover crop acreage using satellite photos and publically available data.This is the next generation of our traditional Crop Residue Management (CRM) survey. Working with beekeepers and farmers to improve pollinator habitat options and overall pollinator health by using best practices on the farms and in the hives.

Supporting Supply Chain Sustainability in Iowa - IDALS

CTIC recently began a new phase of a project funded by Iowa’s Department of Ag and Land Stewardship. In collaboration with Practical Farmers of Iowa and The Nature Conservancy, CTIC is leading development of a program that will train and incentivize retail agronomists to become advocates for conservation systems build around cover cropping. Rollout of the program is anticipated in the winter of 2019 and the project’s target area has been selected to leverage ongoing privately-funded supply chain sustainability initiatives.

...and looking forward to 2018!

... agriculture is actively addressing water quality concerns. Helping farmers and members of the supply chain document how they are sustainably providing commodities to downstream partners and how farming more sustainably can have a positive impact on the farmer’s bottom line. Working with partners to implement a remote sensing project that can help to estimate crop residue amounts and cover crop acreage using satellite photos and publically available data. This is the next generation of our traditional Crop Residue Management (CRM) survey. Working with beekeepers and farmers to improve pollinator habitat options and overall pollinator health by using best practices on the farms and in the hives.

Ecological Challenges

Farmers in Washington’s Whatcom County are engaged in a wide range of water quality improvement projects. TMDLs (total maximum daily loads) in local waterways cover fecal coliform, ammonia-nitrogen, biochemical oxygen demand, chlorine and temperature. The presence of commercial shellfish beds not far from the mouth of the Nooksack River puts added pressure on farmers and shellfish harvesters to work together on water quality improvements. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS) program found that 45% of ... more.

2014: WHAT A YEAR FOR CTIC!

From cover crop plots to Congressional chambers to the world stage, we spread the word about conservation farming success. Read more.

Illinois Soybean Association Sustainability Email List

CTIC partner Illinois Soybean Association publishes occasional e-news about a wide range of farm sustainability topics. The updates cover successes and challenges farmers face serving society, protecting the environment and supporting the economy. Please click here to subscribe.

Planned Grazing System

... reduce sediment and nutrient runoff. Consider food, water and herd size. How it works Pasture is divided into two or more pastures or paddocks with fencing. Cattle are moved from paddock to paddock on a pre-arranged schedule based on forage availability and livestock nutrition needs. How it helps Improves vegetative cover, reducing erosion and improving water quality. Increases harvest efficiency and helps ensure adequate forage throughout the grazing season. Increases forage quality and production which helps increase feed efficiency and can improve profits. Rotating also evenly distributes manure nutrient resources. Planning ahead Is there enough water of good quality available in all pastures to m ... more.

Conservation Buffers Fact Sheet

... buffers provide another line of defense to filter water both surface and shallow ground water before it enters streams and lakes. Can reduce up to 80% of sediment. Reduces 40% (on average) of phosphorous. Removes a significant amount of nitrate; stores it in plant material. Up to 60% of pathogens removed from runoff. Provides a source of food, nesting cover and shelter for wildlife. Improves fish habitat. Other Benefits Reduces wind erosion. Slows water runoff. Reduces downstream flooding. Stabilizes stream banks. Establishment of natural vegetation. Adds visual aesthetics to the landscape. Greater Profits Often provides income from local, stat ... more.

Remote Sensing Resources/links

Spying on Residue Remote Sensing of Crop Residue Cover and Soil Tillage Intensity Remote Sensing the Spacial Distribution of Crop Residues

GREAT LAKES COVER CROP INITIATIVE 2012 WORKSHOPS

Date Location Contact February 21 Ogemaw County Ogemaw Co MSU Extension Office Rifle River Watershed West Branch, MI Paul Gross 989-772-0911x302 gros ... more.

Nutrients in Our Environment - Past, Present, and Beyond (February 18, 2010)

... the latest techniques and technologies, to avoid the potential financial and environmental risks of nitrogen and phosphorus reaching surface and ground water. Learn about research developments and new tools for improving on-farm nutrient efficiency. Contact:brian.c.williams@state.mn.us Please register by calling 651-201-6141. Your fee of $10 at the door will cover your refreshments and lunch. Conference Presentations Speaker Contact Information and Biographies News Release Download Conference Brochure Agenda Poster Booth Abstracts Corporate Sponsor:

National Tillage Trends 1990-2004

Conservation Tillage Types - over 30% cover after planting..more

Conservation Reserve Program - Exit Strategies

... NRCS and Washington State Farm Service Agency have worked to develop CRP exit strategies to encourage, allow and assist farmers with maintaining the environmental benefits of land formerly under CRP. The working group has investigated some options, and will ask for input from groups with a vested interest in the outcome. The best option for some CRP land is to remain under permanent cover. Fortunately, programs are in place for such land, following the sage advice, “Farm the best; enhance the rest.” To pursue the “best,” the working group looked into changing the access dates and eliminating the penalty for early access. The proposal included a staged takeout strategy to allow growers early, penalty-free access to half their CRP acres, after Feb. 1 in ... more.

Lessening the Pain

... applied to their fields, that nitrogen can enter nearby waterways, creating water-quality issues and adding to already established hypoxic zones, he adds. Another potential problem with applying anhydrous in a wet fall: heavy, silty clay soils will not crumble and reseal the slot though which nitrogen is applied, Reicosky says. “Unless a farmer takes the precautions to cover that gap, he runs the risk of losing some of that nitrogen,” he says. And, as the season progresses, frozen soil becomes an obstacle to applying fall anhydrous. “Once they get one to four inches of frozen soil, they’re done,” Reicosky says. Dan Towery, owner of Ag Conservation Solutions in Lafayette, Ind., advises farmers to apply nitrogen before sprin ... more.

Web Site is a Treasure Trove of Livestock Waste Management Information

... the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Region 5, which includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and 35 Tribes. Contact information for waste management experts in the region are available by simply clicking on a map. There is also a Success Stories section, archiving all of the manure management features run in Partners over the past two years. The articles cover livestock waste management issues ranging from how to calculate the value of manure to how innovative producers are using it for nutrients or even green energy. Scanlon points out that www.lwmtech.org is a work in progress, always open to updates and new links that could help broaden visitors' opportunities for environmentally and economically sound manure management. "The Te ... more.

Wetland Enhancement

... there an adequate water supply? Is there adequate upland wildlife habitat available? What wildlife do you want to attract? Will plugging drains or breaking tile lines to enhance the wetland have adverse effects on other parts of your farm, or a neighboring farm? Tech notes Remove trees and brush from embankments and the vegetative spillway area. Protective vegetative cover should be established on exposed surfaces of embankments and spillways. Obtain any necessary permits. Keep livestock from the area, unless it is included in a planned grazing management plan. Dikes and levees should meet NRCS or US Army Corps of Engineers standards. Maintenance You may need to replant some wetland vegetation until a good stand is established. Keep burrowi ... more.

Farm Pond

... all trees and shrubs within at least 30 feet of the dam's spillway and embankment. * Generally for every surface acre of pond there should be at least 10 acres of drainage area. * Too large a drainage area for the pond site may make the site unfeasible. Maintenance Keep outlet free of debris. Keep burrowing animals, trees and shrubs off the dam. Maintain grass cover on the dam. * Criteria may need to be adjusted for local conditions.

Conservation Tillage Systems and Management Handbook

Conservation Tillage Systems and Management Handbook The 29 chapters not only cover a broad range of topics, but the authors represent all regions of the United States. The right book for those with a basic understanding of conservation tillage who want to expand their technical knowledge.

Southern Plains Agricultural Resources Coalition (SPARC)

... and profitability through greater use of no-till practices and conservation systems for producers, consumers, and communities by promotion of market based incentives, education, demonstration, participation, and research. Area We Serve The Southern Plains Agricultural Resources Coalition (SPARC) serves an area of Oklahoma west of Interstate 35. The goal of SPARC is to broaden its coverage to neighboring states in the southern plains region. Who We Serve SPARC serves producers of agriculture products as well as consumers. This includes all communities, policy makers, tribes, landowners, and water users throughout rural and urban areas. Priority Resource Concerns SPARC has determined that the three priority resource concerns with the greatest potential for ben ... more.

Anaerobic Digesters: A Community Approach

... 99 percent and more than five tons of salts and nitrates are kept out of the Santa Ana River watershed. Meanwhile, solids separated from the processed manure—135 tons per day—are sold as organic fertilizer. It’s a shining example of the capabilities of a community system, but it’s hardly a get-rich-quick scheme. “As a public utility, we’re just trying to cover our costs,” says Rich Atwater, IEUA’s CEO and general manager. “The renewable energy value generates a couple of million dollars a year in income, so at least it’s a break-even proposition. It covers operations and maintenance and our return on capital investment in the project.” Still, Atwater’s team is working on optimizing its digester technology as it ... more.

Board of Directors

Terry Tindall - Chair J. R. Simplot Company Mark Schmidt - Vice Chair John Deere Mark White - Treasurer Syngenta America, Inc. Laura McConnell Bayer CropScience Hunter Carpenter Agricultural Retailers Association Larry Clemens The Nature Conservancy Nathan Fields National Corn Growers Association Peyton Harper The Fertilizer Institute Adam Herges The Mosaic Company Andy Knepp Bayer CropScience William Kuckuck Cr ... more.

Tour Agenda

... management in a soil health system Innovative equipment for conservation systems 5:30 – 7:30 pm Dinner at Wabash & Erie Canal Park –Delphi, Indiana 8:00 pm Arrive back at Purdue Union The 2017 Conservation in Action Tour is hosted by CTIC with the support of Bayer CropScience, John Deere, Monsanto and The Fertilizer Institute.

What’s happening at CTIC?

... your CTIC membership. Renewing your membership helps us continue to make a difference in conservation agriculture and helps us continue to grow our organization. Thank you to the following individuals and organizations who have already renewed: Agri Drain Corporation Agri-Pulse Communications American Seed Trade Association American Society of Agronomy, Inc. Bayer CropScience Case IH Cotton Incorporated CropLife America David Muth Dr. E.J. Dunphy Eco Agro Resources Field to Market Grassland Oregon Illinois Corn Growers Association Indiana Corn Marketing Council Indiana Soybean Alliance Innovation Center for U.S.Dairy Iowa Farm Bureau Federation IPNI James Lake John Deere Joseph Glassmeyer Land Pro LLC Larry Heatherly Michael Adsit Monsanto ... more.

Thank you sponsors

Thank You Sponsors! The 2017 Conservation in Action Tour is hosted by CTIC with the support of our Tour Sponsors: Evening Social John Deere Diamond Bayer CropScience Monsanto Platinum Dow AgroSciences Syngenta The Fertilizer Institute Click hereto see a complete list of 2017 Tour sponsors. Why attend the Tour? This is one of the most well-organized multi-stop tours I've ever been on - I'm hoping to take some of your great ideas and implement them. ~Anonymous, 2016 Tour Participant ... more.

Thank you sponsors

Thank You Sponsors! The 2017 Conservation in Action Tour is hosted by CTIC with the support of our Tour Sponsors: Evening Social John Deere Diamond Bayer CropScience Monsanto Platinum Dow AgroSciences Syngenta The Fertilizer Institute Click hereto see a complete list of 2017 Tour sponsors. Why attend the Tour? This is one of the most well-organized multi-stop tours I've ever been on - I'm hoping to take some of your great ideas and implement them. ~Anonymous, 2016 Tour Participant ... more.

Cropsmith

Bayer CropScience

CTIC Bronze Corporate Member, Bayer CropScience, has a vision to be a leading partner in providing innovative products and combined solutions for the production of quality food, feed and fiber to meet the global challenges of tomorrow. To learn more about Bayer CropScience, visit www.bayercropscience.com.