Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: South Dakota
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

South Dakota Project

Evaluating avian use of cover crop fields in the Corn Belt

August 2018 - July 2021


Participating Agencies

  • Natural Resource Conservation Service

Fall-seeded cover crops are an emerging technology in the upper Midwest, intended to improve soil health, crop yields, and reduce erosion. Wildlife benefits may also be realized from the planting of cover crops, but because a row crop is planted and harvested, often during the avian nesting season, the impact on wildlife, and avifauna in particular is largely unknown. In this study, we will evaluate breeding bird use and, to a smaller extent, nest survival of grassland nesting songbirds in cover crops in Iowa.

Research Publications Publication Date
Janke, A.K., T.R. Shirley, M. Figura, and J.D. Stafford. In Review. Can cover crops help grassland breeding birds? Insights from Iowa. NRCS CEAP Conservation Insight. April 2024