Nebraska Near Top in Conservation Tillage Practices
Nebraska remains one of the top states in the use of reduced and no-till tillage practices on farms. The 2017 Census of Agriculture showed that no-till cropland acres in the state equaled 10.3 million acres, or 46 percent of total cropland acres.
Reduced tillage acres were estimated at 5.9 million acres, or 27 percent of total cropland. No-till acres in 2017 numbered 10 percent more compared to 2012, and reduced tillage acres were 20 percent greater. Cropland on which intensive tillage practices were used amounted to less than 10 percent of total acres. Nebraska is second only to Kansas in terms of percentage of harvest cropland under either non-till or reduced tillage practices.
Nebraska also had almost 748,000 acres of cropland under cover crop in 2017, or 3 percent of the total cropland acres, and 109 percent greater than in 2012. Nationwide, the acres under cover crops grew 50 percent between 2012 and 2017. The use of cover crops across the state varies. An analysis by Jim Jansen, Jeff Stokes, and Jay Parsons of the University of Nebraska Dept. of Agricultural Economics showed the percentage of total cropland acres under cover crops ranged from 2.4 percent in the Northwest, North, and Southwest regions of the state to 4.2 percent in the Northeast, Central, and East regions. Nebraska ranks near the bottom of the top ten states in use of cover crops. Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan led the nation in the utilization of cover crops. For more information on the use of cover crops by county in Nebraska, go to : https://agecon.unl.edu/cornhusker-economics/2019/cover-crop-utilization.