A measurement of farmer state of mind has reached its highest reading since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Purdue University and CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, farmer sentiment is up 38 points since July and 60 points since the 2020 low was established in April. A release accompanying the new data pointed to two factors for the rise in sentiment: USDA’s announcement of the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program and a rally in commodity prices.

“The resulting revenue boost from these two sources likely provided much of the impetus for this month’s 18-point rise in the Index of Current Conditions and the 12-point rise in the Ag Economy Barometer,” the release said.

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This month’s survey also included several questions on cover crops. According to Purdue and CME, nearly 4 in 10 producers said they intended to plant some kind of cover crop in 2020. Two thirds of farmers who intend to plant a cover crop yet this fall have been planting them for more than four years; just 7% of respondents said this would be their first time planting cover crops. However, most producers who plan to utilize cover crops will only do so on a portion of their acres; just over half of respondents said they plan to plant cover crops on less than one-third of their acreage.

The survey was based on telephone conversations with 400 producers from Sept. 21-25.

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