June 15, 2024

1.6 million cover crop acres planted: Indiana farmers set new conservation record

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana farmers have set a conservation record this year by planting an estimated 1.6 million acres of overwinter living covers, according to a recent survey.

As a result of the cover crops planted, it is estimated that 1.7 million tons of sediment was prevented from entering Indiana’s waterways, which is enough sediment to fill more than 480 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Overwintering covers also prevented 4.3 million pounds of nitrogen and over 2.2 million pounds of phosphorus from entering Indiana’s waterways.

“Protecting our most vital natural resources is top of mind for our Indiana farmers and this year’s record-breaking cover crop acreage is a testament to that,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch.

“Through the implementation of cover crops and other conservation efforts, farmers are ensuring our land and water resources remain healthy and productive.”

Apart from corn and soybeans, cover crops are planted on more acres than any other commodity crop in Indiana.

“Hoosier farmers have held strong at 1.5 million acres of cover crops planted since 2021, so we are excited our farmers were once again able to move the needle forward,” said Don Lamb, Indiana State Department of Agriculture director.

“Soil conservation successes would not be possible without the dedicated farmers and the Indiana Conservation Partnership to help them along the way.”

About The Survey

The conservation transect is a visual survey of cropland in the state. It was conducted between March and May 2023 by members of the Indiana Conservation Partnership, including the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, ISDA, Indiana’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Purdue Extension, as well as Earth Team volunteers, to show a more complete story of the state’s conservation efforts.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor