DES MOINES, Iowa (Nov. 1, 2019) — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Kurt Simon, State Conservationist with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), have extended cover crop seeding deadlines due to weather delays.
Farmers participating in state cost-share and most federal financial assistance programs now have until Dec. 1 to plant their winter hardy cereal rye cover crop and still qualify for assistance.
“Farmers have had an unusually tough year dealing with weather, which is creating significant harvest delays,” said Secretary Naig. “Even a later seeded cover crop can provide conservation benefits and this extension gives farmers the opportunity to seed cereal rye after harvest.”
Cereal rye should be planted immediately following the harvest of the principal crop for best results. The cover crop will be no-till drilled into the crop residue and the recommended seeding rate of cereal rye should be increased to 75 pounds per acre to account for reduced tillering.
Kevin McCall, State Resource Conservationist for NRCS in Iowa, says late seeded cereal rye can still be established this fall and provide key soil health and environmental benefits if allowed to grow to at least an 8-inch height in the spring.
This seeding extension does not apply to all programs. Contact your local NRCS office for additional information about federal or state funded assistance programs.
Cover crops play an important role in locking in nutrients and preventing soil erosion. It is one of many conservation practices that farmers can use to help the state advance towards the water quality goals outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
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