A recent survey of 34,000 U.S. producers found that about 59% are using cover crops on an average of 40% of their acres.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service surveyed about 34,000 producers between May and September 2022. About 59% of growers said they were using cover crops. The growers on average said about 40% of their cropland was seeded to covers.
About 75% of growers said confidence was the top motivation for employing cover crops. About 59% said they were motivated by the benefit of cover cropping exceeding the cost.
The most common conservation practice implemented was irrigation management and systems improvement, which 90% of growers said they implemented. Growers said they used irrigation and system improvements on 91% of their acreage. The top motivations for implementing irrigation management were receiving technical assistance and anticipated benefits outweighing the cost.
About 84% of respondents implemented conservation tillage practices in their operation, making this the second-highest reported conservation practice. About 75% of growers said their top motivation for adjusting tillage practices was "confidence in following plan successfully." About 70% of growers said they anticipated saving time or effort by adjusting tillage.
The study is the part of a larger project looking at conservation practices with respects to their motivations.