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Indiana State Department of Agriculture

Indiana State Department of Agriculture

ISDA > Divisions > Soil Conservation > Cover Crop and Tillage Transect Data Cover Crop and Tillage Transect Data

Results from the 2015 Indiana Fall Tillage and Cover Crop Transect, which is an on-the-ground survey, indicate that overall soil health in Indiana is improving. According to the data, over 1.1 million acres of cover crops were planted in 2015, which is an increase of nearly 10 percent compared to the previous year and 225 times more coverage over the past decade.

Cover crops build soil organic matter, protect against soil erosion, cycle nutrients, reduce compaction, sequester carbon from the atmosphere, and build overall soil health and make it more resilient to weather extremes. The increase of cover crops confirms that the Indiana Conservation Partnership's efforts are helping farmers successfully improve soil health on their farms.

The Indiana Conservation Partnership introduced the cover crop assessment to the survey in 2011 so that we could better tell the story of Indiana’s conservation efforts. Cover crops protect soil from extreme weather and retain valuable nutrients in fields during winter months, playing a key role in soil health. With more farmers implementing this practice, the 2015 survey results prove why Indiana continues to be a national leader in soil health.

Hoosier farmers also continued the trend of plowing less and using sound conservation practices that preserve valuable topsoil, according to the 2015 data. Not plowing the soil is a critical component to improving soil health and can reduce soil erosion by 75 percent when compared to a conventional tillage system. The results show that 55 percent of Indiana’s harvested cropland was left undisturbed during the winter months.

When Indiana farmers apply sound conservation practices, it’s good for the soil, contributes to improved water quality and is good for the future of agriculture. These survey results indicate that not only are more farmers implementing these types of practices, which means that soil health is improving, but also that Indiana has a conservation model that works and continues to garner national attention.

In addition to the survey, which provides data on no-till farming and cover crops, the eight partners of Indiana’s Conservation Partnership also promote other practices as part of a soil health management system. This system combines practices such as adaptive nutrient management, integrated weed and pest management, diverse crop rotations, precision farming technology, and prescriptive buffers to improve soil function and make land more sustainable.

To learn more about the tillage transect for your county, visit your local Soil and Water Conservation District office found here: http://www.in.gov/isda/2370.htm.  Visit http://icp.iaswcd.org for more information about Indiana’s Conservation Partnership.

Definitions of Conservation Tillage Practices
Tillage System Definitions

Statewide Historical Trend Reports
No-till Trends 1990-2015
Conservation Tillage Trends 1990-2015
Cover Crop Trends 2011-2015

2015 Fall Cover Crop and Tillage Transect Data
2015 Living Covers Planted in Corn Percentages
2015 Living Covers Planted in Corn Acres
2015 Living Covers Planted in Soybean Percentages
2015 Living Covers Planted in Soybean Acres
2015 Living Covers Planted in All Crops
2015 Corn Residue Not Tilled Percentages
2015 Soybean Residue Not Tilled Percentages

2015 Tillage Transect Data
2015 No-till Corn Percentages
2015 No-till Corn Acres
2015 No-till Soybean Percentages
2015 No-till Soybean Acres

2014 Fall Cover Crop and Tillage Transect Data
2014 Cover Crops Planted in Corn Percentages
2014 Cover Crops Planted in Corn Acres
2014 Cover Crops Planted in Soybean Percentages
2014 Cover Crops Planted in Soybean Acres
2014 Corn Residue Not Tilled Percentages
2014 Soybean Residue Not Tilled Percentages

2013 Tillage Transect Data
2013 No-till Corn Percentages
2013 No-till Corn Acres
2013 No-till Soybean Percentages
2013 No-till Soybean Acres

2011 Tillage Transect Data
2011 No-till Corn Percentages
2011 No-till Corn Acres
2011 No-till Soybean Percentages
2011 No-till Soybean Acres

2009 Tillage Transect Data
2009 No-till Corn Percentages
2009 No-till Corn Acres
2009 No-till Soybean Percentages
2009 No-till Soybean Acres

2007 Tillage Transect Data
2007 No-till Corn Percentages
2007 No-till Corn Acres
2007 No-till Soybean Percentages
2007 No-till Soybean Acres

2004 Tillage Transect Data
2004 No-till Corn Percentages
2004 No-till Corn Acres
2004 No-till Soybean Percentages
2004 No-till Soybean Acres

2000 Tillage Transect Data
2000 No-till Corn Percentages
2000 No-till Corn Acres
2000 No-till Soybean Percentages
2000 No-till Soybean Acres

1997 Tillage Transect Data
1997 No-till Corn Percentages
1997 No-till Corn Acres
1997 No-till Soybean Percentages
1997 No-till Soybean Acres

1993 Tillage Transect Data
1993 No-till Corn Percentages
1993 No-till Corn Acres
1993 No-till Soybean Percentages
1993 No-till Soybean Acres

1990 Tillage Transect Data
1990 No-till Corn Percentages
1990 No-till Corn Acres
1990 No-till Soybean Percentages
1990 No-till Soybean Acres