Cover Crops Help The Climate And Environment, But Most Farmers Say No

"DES MOINES, Iowa — Called cover crops, they top the list of tasks U.S. farmers are told will build healthy soil, help the environment and fight climate change.

Yet after years of incentives and encouragement, Midwest farmers planted cover crops on only about 7% of their land in 2021.

That percentage has increased over the years but remains small in part because even as farmers receive extra payments and can see numerous benefits from cover crops, they remain wary. Many worry the practice will hurt their bottom line — and a study last year indicates they could be right.

Researchers who used satellite data to examine over 90,000 fields in six Corn Belt states found cover crops can reduce yields of cash crops — the bushels per acre. The smaller the yield, the less money farmers make."

Scott McFetridge reports for the Associated Press November 2, 2023.

Source: AP, 11/06/2023