Research on Cover Crop Fields
Agricultural fields provide crucial overwintering habitat for many species of waterfowl in Delta.
In addition to soil benefits for farmers, planting cover crops over the winter provides foraging material for birds such as Snow Geese, Trumpeter Swans and American Wigeon.
Every week from October to March, we monitor waterfowl presence on farmland in Delta and Richmond to understand how waterfowl are utilizing agricultural fields.
We also measure the amount of grazing that has occurred on cover crop fields throughout the season.
Over the winter of 2021/2022, coverage of cover crops on planted fields was 84.3% in October and was reduced to 60.3% by March, caused by waterfowl grazing .
Over the 2022 – 2023 winter season, cover crops experienced more grazing compared to our previous years survey. 34% of cover crop fields surveyed this year experienced extensive grazing to the root, compared to 22% in 2021-2022.
With higher grazing pressure and dry fall conditions, both vegetation cover and height were lower when compared to last years survey.
To learn more about our Winter Cover Crop surveys, download our yearly reports below.