According to the September Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, cover crop usage has received a lot of attention in recent years. To learn more about cover crop usage, Purdue University's September survey included several questions on cover crops. Nearly 4 out of 10 corn/soybean producers in the September survey said they intend to plant at least some cover crops in fall 2020. Two-thirds of the farmers who intend to plant a cover crop this fall have been planting cover crops for more than 4 years whereas just 7% of respondents said this would be the first time they planted a cover crop on their farm.
Although nearly 40% of corn/soybean producers said they intend to plant cover crops this fall, most of them will only plant cover crops on a portion of their crop acreage. Just over half (52%) of the respondents using cover crops in 2020 said that they intend to plant cover crops on one-third or less of their corn/soybean acreage while 21% of the farms in the September survey said they intend to plant cover crops on one-third to as much as two-thirds of their corn/soybean acreage. The remaining 27% of producers planting cover crops this fall intend to do so on more than two-thirds of their corn/soybean acreage. Farmers who intend to plant cover crops this fall overwhelmingly (79%) said their primary reason for doing so was to improve soil health and crop yields, while just 1% of respondents said it was because of the availability of cost-share funds.