Study: Most farmers see benefit of cover crops

By Nick Laurin
Study: Most farmers see benefit of cover crops

CORNWALL, Ontario – Researchers at the University of Manitoba (UM), working alongside with the Ontario Cover Crop Steering Committee, have shared the results from the 2020 Ontario Cover Crop Feedback Survey. The survey highlights the grower’s observations from incorporating cover crops into their practice.

 The 2020 Ontario Cover Crop Feedback project, which includes responses from farmers of SD&G, was developed to provide information to farmers, agronomists, researchers, policy markers, and government organizations that play an important role in the future of cover crops in Ontario.

In total, the survey collected responses from 731 farmers, which 520 grew cover crops in 2020 and 211 did not grow a cover crop in 2020. Of the 520 respondents that grew cover crops, 91 percent observed benefits from using cover crops; 68 percent of farms saw improved soil health, 59 percent observed less soil erosion, and 57 percent reported seeing increased soil organic matter.

“Ontario continues to innovate in farming practices that benefit the environment and adopt cover cropping as one strategy. We know that to continue to build on these successes and continue to help Ontario and Canada meet climate change goals, farmers will need support for these practices to help overcome the barriers that farmers face in their implementation,” said Marty Vermey, senior agronomist at Grain Farmers of Ontario and Chair of the Ontario Cover Crop Working Group.

Although the implementation of cover crop in farming practices in Ontario has benefits, barriers that hinder widespread cover crop adoption still exist.

“It is an important time to hear from farmers about their needs for research and knowledge transfer,” said Callum Morrison, Graduate Student and Report Author, University of Manitoba.

For more detailed information on the report and cover crops, please see here.

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