Building Knowledge about Wisconsin’s Cover Crops: A farmer-research data collection project

Daniel H. Smith, Southwest Outreach Specialist, Nutrient and Pest Management Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison

A group from UW-Madison is looking for some good farm data to help build better knowledge about cover crops in Wisconsin. The group would like to work with you to help advance cover cropping in Wisconsin. They have developed a very simple survey and data collection protocol to improve cover crop recommendations and use in Wisconsin.

Who is collecting this data and Why? 

They are a group of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers, scientists, and outreach specialists looking to improve cover crop recommendations for the state of Wisconsin. This data is needed to better understand the cover crops that work best in Wisconsin, along with establishment timing, and potential benefits received from these cover crops. This data will help improve cover crop data in SnapPlus (SnapPlus is a nutrient management planning software program).


  1. For data privacy we ask that you provide contact information via this survey. This survey will collect information needed and ensure your farm data is protected. In addition, to safeguard your privacy, the field data you provide will never be associated with any personal information. They will not share any contact/personal information when sharing the survey results. If interested in this project, please complete the initial survey by September 1, 2020.

Phase 1

  1. After you have entered your data in the first survey, they will send you a link to the actual data collection survey. At that time they will provide a video detailing more information on competing survey.
  2. After you complete the first survey they will email you asking for photos of the cover crop at seeding, two weeks following seeding, and four weeks following seeding. they will provide a video for more information on collecting the photos.

Phase 2

  1. They will mail you an envelope to collect the optional biomass sample. they will provide a video for more information on collecting the biomass sample.
  2. They will share a data report with you during 2020-2021 winter.


They will offer $25.00 to Wisconsin producers that fill out the entire survey and provide photos of the field at seeding, two weeks following seeding, and four weeks following seeding. An additional $75.00 will be provided to producers collecting a biomass sample (sampling envelope and postage will be provided). Total incentive $100 for about an hour of time.

They will keep you informed on what they are learning from the data via regular emails as the study progresses.

Your participation is voluntary and you can leave the project at any time.

Questions or Comments?

Daniel H. Smith, University of Wisconsin-Madison & Extension Southwest Regional Outreach Specialist for the Nutrient and Pest Management (NPM) Program