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News Release

Dec. 1 New Seeding Deadline for Winter Hardy Cover Crops

Barb Stewart

DES MOINES, IA, Nov. 6, 2013—Due to field conditions and requests from Iowa farmers, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is further extending its deadline for seeding winter hardy cover crops to Dec. 1.

“The extension applies to winter hardy cover crops, like winter rye, winter triticale and winter wheat, where the primary purpose for the practice is erosion control,” said Barb Stewart, NRCS state agronomist. “To be eligible for federal financial assistance, the cover crop needs to be no-till drilled into the existing crop residue.”

This extension also applies to state-funded cover crops, such as those funded through the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Along with erosion control benefits, Jim Gillespie, division director for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship-Division of Soil Conservation, says winter hardy cover crops will help keep phosphorus that may be attached to the soil out of nearby water bodies.

“We can benefit by keeping the soil protected and also protecting the water,” said Gillespie.

Farmers have also asked about using fall tillage to terminate prevented planted cover crops. “If the prevented planting cover crop was planted using state or federal funding, tillage is not allowed this fall,” said Stewart. “If financial assistance was not received, NRCS still does not recommend tillage to destroy cover crops this fall because of the increased erosion risk.”

For more information about cover crops, erosion control and other conservation issues, contact your local NRCS office.