Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
“Ideally you’ll prioritize seeding [cover crops] early—you have to hustle, but sometimes it doesn’t happen until later than you’d like,” says Keith Van Waardhuizen (Far right in photo) of Oskaloosa, Iowa. Keith prefers drilling for seeding cereal rye, but he pivots to broadcast seeding rye when he is under a time crunch.

Seeding with speed: Keith uses a Mobility spreader with an orbit motor. Keith alters the spreader adjustments to seed about 60 pounds of rye per acre, and the 40-foot boom enables him to seed at 10-12 miles per hour and cover roughly 35 acres an hour. Plus, “unlike the drill,” he says, “nothing is breaking or wearing out.”

Alternatives for incorporation: After broadcasting Keith lets cattle out to graze corn residue or applies hog manure. “The hooves of the stock cows, or the honey wagon knives and wheels help us get better seed-to-soil contact,” explains Keith.

Benefits of spring cover: “You don’t get as much growth with seeding late, but the green plants out there in the spring really help with those big spring rains that we keep getting,” says Keith. “I wouldn’t be scared to plant it yet this year,” he adds.
PROGRAM UPDATES
On December 3 and 4 hear from a stellar line-up of regional cover crop farmer experts and academics about cover crops and soil health, weed suppression and grazing. Check out the agenda here.

You can come to either or both of the virtual three-hour (with a couple breaks) boot camp days. Registration has closed, but feel free to join us from 9 a.m. - Noon.
Most of the cover crop cost share programs that we administer are privately-funded and can be coupled with publicly-funded cost share such as NRCS cost share, WQI cost share, or the crop insurance discount

With our cost share, if you've used cover crops before you could receive $10 per acre. New to cover crops? You could receive $40 per acre. Fill out the application now to see if you’re eligible.
IN THE FIELD
Read the recently released blog on Wade Dooley's proof-of-concept on seeding cereal rye late into the fall and even into early spring.

Wade provides observations and tips for meeting your goals when seeding late.
Iowa farmers: IDALS is offering a $5 per acre discount on crop insurance for farmers who plant cover crops this fall. The cover crop acres cannot be enrolled in other state or federal cover crop cost share programs, but can be enrolled in private cost share programs, such as the PFI-administered programs. Don’t miss out on this $5 per acre discount!

Illinois farmers: IDOA is offering a similar $5 per acre discount on crop insurance premiums for planting cover crops. This opens in December and will close January 15. Learn more about the program here.
EQIP funds the NRCS to provide conservation planning and financial assistance to implement conservation practices such as no-till, cover crops, terraces, grassed waterways, nutrient management, manure management facilities, and pasture management.

Sign-up for EQIP is continuous, but priority funding applications are due by December 18.
UPCOMING EVENTS
You can watch recordings from this season’s cover crop field days and beyond on the Practical Farmers of Iowa YouTube page.
Hosted by: Albert Lea Seed
December 3 | 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Practical Farmers of Iowa & Partners
December 3 - 4 | 9 a.m. - Noon | Online

Hosted by: Tim Hammerich & Abbey Wick
December 8 – 9  | Online

Hosted by: Christine Jones & Green Cover Seed
December 8 | 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Wendong Zhang & Iowa Learning Farms
December 9 | Noon - 1 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Adam Rodenberg, Matt Lechtenberg & Iowa Learning Farms
December 10 | 1 - 2 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Iowa Learning Farms & Cynthia Bartel
December 16 | Noon - 1 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Iowa Learning Farms
January 14 | 1 - 2 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Iowa Learning Farms
January 21 | 1 - 2 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Practical Farmers of Iowa
January 21-23 | Online
Want to host a virtual cover crop happy hour? We’ll help you with the tech, and how to virtually invite your neighbors to the discussion. Contact Sarah if interested sarah@practicalfarmers.org
 
Are you planning or hosting a cover crop field day—virtual or in person? Send the details to rebecca@practicalfarmers.org, and we’ll include it in our next newsletter.
COVER CROP POLL
In the last five years, what is the latest that you’ve seeded cover crops?
October
November
December
January or later
Want to expand further on this poll topic? Reply to this email and we may feature your thoughts in the next issue of "The Practical Cover Cropper."
 
Send us your cover crop poll ideas! We want to know what YOU want to know, reply to this email with your ideas for the next poll.
Previous poll results:
Do you grow non-GMO corn or soybeans
  • Yes36.8%
  • No36.8%
  • I have in the past26.3%
  • I plan to in the next few years - 0%
CONTACT OUR COVER CROPS TEAM
Sarah Carlson
Strategic Initiatives Director
(515) 232-5661
Chris Wilbeck
Independent Contractor
(515) 232-5661
Rebecca Clay
Strategic Initiatives Agronomy Coordinator
(515) 232-5661