Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Shane Susie (left) of Kingsley, IA shares tips on ensuring a productive corn crop following cereal rye.
 
Spoon-feeding N and S at planting: Shane uses a FurrowJet to apply 25 pounds of N/acre in amino-based product. However, he notes that most people who are not using amino-based products would be better off using a 2x2 or 2x2x2 application of “melted down” AMS or Liquid N. When variable-rate-applying AMS, Shane applies an average rate of 100# AMS/acre. “Sulfur deficiencies are more common than most people realize,” he says. N applied at planting doesn’t need to be additional N; it can be reduced from the total rate.
 
Timing termination: For an overwintered cover crop ahead of corn, Shane recommends terminating the cover crop two weeks prior to planting, to allow sufficient time for the residue to dry out, or for advanced operators, three to four days after planting. Terminating the rye earlier than three days after planting could result in partial termination as the planter-damaged cover crop will not metabolize the herbicide. Due to dry sub-soil conditions, Shane plans to terminate more of his fields earlier. He will use 3 oz Calisto, 1 pint Atrazine and 12 oz Roundup / acre.
 
Avoiding wrapping and open seed trenches: Shane recommends SharkTooth® trash whippers, which don’t plug up or wrap as much as other types of trash whippers. If you run coulters, Shane recommends that you lift them up to a 1-inch depth to avoid “muddying up” the seed trench.
PROGRAM UPDATES
Ready to invest in cover crops on your farm? You could earn $1,600 or more to help offset the cost– fill out the application now to see if you’re eligible.
This summer we will host a series of small, energizing, in-person gatherings on farms across Iowa.

We’re starting the planning, and the line-up will expand on a rolling basis throughout the summer as more pop-up, local events are organized. Fill out this form to let us know your interests and availability.
Have you attended a Field Crop Virtual Meet-Up yet? Last one is Thursday! We’ll talk about how cover crops fit into organic production systems. Join us this Thursday 6:30-8 p.m.
IN THE FIELD
It’s nearly time to plant corn, but the first step is to handle the over-wintered cereal rye cover crop, which is greening and growing during corn planting.
 
We have reached out to farmers across the state to provide you with a set of guidelines to help you effectively kill your cover crops in preparation for corn planting!
Last year Jack Boyer of Reinbeck, IA tested whether adding sulfur fertilizer would improve corn yield and profitability. He found that corn yield and ROI was greater in the strips which had received 20 lbs/acre sulfur fertilizer. Read the report here.
Make sure your cover crop does not become a weed by terminating it effectively. Iowa State Extension provides insight on ideal temperature conditions and the efficacy of different herbicide combinations in this blog.
 
A past blog post from the same group gives additional useful recommendations; read these recommendations here.
Dick Sloan and Tim Sieren conducted on-farm research to understand how N management and cover crop termination dates interact.
 
Sloan observed no yield drag with later termination dates with intentional N management (fall manure, 35 lb N/ac at corn planting, and 90 lb N/ac at side-dress) Read the full report here.
UPCOMING EVENTS
Hosted by: Mike Naig & Iowa Learning Farms
April 7 | 12 p.m. CT | Online

Hosted by: Adams County (Indiana) SWCD
April 7 | 6 p.m. CT | Online

Hosted by: Soil Health Institute & Cargill
April 8 | 1 p.m. CT | Online

Hosted by: Practical Farmers
April 8 | 6:30 – 8 p.m. CT | Online

Hosted by: Iowa Learning Farms
April 14 | 12 p.m. CT | Online

Hosted by: Iowa Learning Farms, Iowa Nutrient Research Center & CLG
April 15 | 1 p.m. CT | 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 event—virtual or in person? Send the details to rebecca@practicalfarmers.org, and we’ll include it in our next newsletter.
COVER CROP POLL
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.
What will you plant first this year?
Soybeans
Corn
Previous poll results:
Is your corn/soybean planting date affected by whether or not you have cover crops?
  • No, I plant around the same time on my cover cropped and non cover cropped fields - 66.7%
  • Yes, I plant later on my cover cropped fields - 25%
  • Yes, I plant earlier on my cover cropped fields - 8.3%
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