Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has shared spring management tips for farmers who are growing cover crops for the first time.
Some of these tips include allowing cover crops to grow as long as possible, exploring all termination options, and considering nitrogen needs during tillage.
“We continue to see significant growth in the number of farmers using cover crops on their farm and also the total acreage of cover crops in the state,” said Northey. “Farmers using cover crops are seeing the benefits of reduced erosion, improved water quality, and soil health, and even better weed control. But, spring management decisions remain critical to successful cover cropping.”
Northey noted that it is critical to fully terminate cover crops and provide enough nitrogen during planting when producing corn. Herbicides, tillage, or a combination of both can help agricultural professionals manage their cover crops in the spring.
The secretary also reminded farmers that there are crop insurance deadlines for terminating cover crops, and they vary according to the region of the state. For example, cover crops in Zone 4 (the eastern two-thirds of Iowa) must be terminated with five days of cash crop planting.
More information on these guidelines and other tips for handling cover crops in the spring can be found on the Iowa Department of Agriculture website.
“We want farmers to have a successful experience and be encouraged to try cover crops again in the future,” Northey said.