CRM » History
No-till adoption continues to steadily rise. This represents almost 23 percent of the nation’s cropland.
Source: Conservation Technology Information Center

Survey History


The National Crop Residue Management Survey has been organized by CTIC, in cooperation with NRCS and other conservation partners across the country, since 1982. For the first 18 years, data was primarily collected using the knowledge and expertise of the local conservation partnership. A team of partners from the NRCS, Soil and Water Conservation District, Extension Service and others would consult together and determine what kind of tillage type was used in the county by crop. That data was submitted to CTIC for inclusion in the national report.

In 2000, CTIC issued instructions for the roadside transect method for collecting tillage data. This method called for NRCS staff and other conservation partners to drive a set course through the county to visually assess at half-mile or mile intervals crop planted, residue level for various tillage systems and other field data. The focus was on counties with more than 50,000 annually planted cropland acres (changed to 100,000 cropland acres in 2002) and in areas that have adopted or have the potential to adopt conservation tillage.

However, since 2006, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has not instructed its field office personnel to participate in the collection of tillage data (as it did in years before). Therefore, CTIC is now very limited in its ability to collect county-level data. In 2006, CTIC extended an offer to accept tillage data by crop from any county or state that voluntarily collected the data. More than 300 counties did submit data, including all of Illinois. With the limited data received, however, CTIC cannot report on national trends in no-till or conservation tillage adoption.

Below summarizes the survey’s history by year:

1982 - 1998: National data collected each year

1989: The definition of conservation tillage changed

1996: Counties with less than 25,000 cropland acres were not required to submit data;
1172 counties or 38% of all counties

1998: National survey conducted every other year which focused on counties with more the
50,000 cropland acres

2000: Transects conducted in 28 state and crop list expanded to 22 crops

2002: Counties with more than 100,000 cropland acres in the following 17 states will conduct a transect:
Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Counties with more than 50,000 cropland acres in the 18 following states will estimate tillage practice by crop using the local conservation team:
Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming

No data collected (data carried forward)
Alaska, Arizona, California. Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia

2004: Last year the National Survey data was collected

2006 & 2008: All counties in Illinois voluntarily collected data

2007 & 2009: All counties in Indiana voluntarily collected data