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Christmas cover crop windshield tour...%of corn fields planted to cover crops
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Posted 12/25/2015 17:49 (#4986606)
Subject: Christmas cover crop windshield tour...%of corn fields planted to cover crops

My dad is in a skilled care nursing home and i was thinking of something we could do for him on Christmas today. We decided to pick him up and take a tour of the NW part of Lancaster County farmland here in PA. As most of you know, it's been a great fall for cover crops and after seeing many fields "green" with covers i decided to let my son drive while i tabulated the corn fields that were planted into covers.
Counted 97 corn fields total. Here are the windshield survey results:
All corn fields- 68% had cover crops
Corn fields for grain- 56% had cover crops
Corn fields for silage- 89% had cover crops
(FYI, 36% of corn fields were for silage)

What is interesting is this is the area that has the least adoption of cover crops in the county. An NRCS survey in 2013 pegged Lancaster countywide at 75% of all corn acres planted to cover crops. Keep in mind there are lots of dairies so silage and the need for forage does help boost that percentage. The last 2 weeks of Dec, 2015 they were going to survey 500 fields to update the data. I would predict it'll be 80% or better county wide with cover crops this winter on all corn acres. The above simple survey seems be reflect that, knowing it was in the least usage area. You may ask, why is the adoption rate so high in this region? My first thought is "The Chesapeake Bay". Wouldn't mind hearing others from this region chime in on this question as well.
To put this in context, several other posts here today dealt with the warm weather and fall N application. Of all the fields i saw today, and i could say i saw hundreds, not one had fall N applied that i noticed.The only exception would be several fields that had manure applied which is no different in many respects but no synthetic N. It is not done here any more.
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