Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
This year’s earlier harvest means that we can get a head-start on 2021 crop production by seeding cover crops sooner. The earlier we can get our cover crops seeded, the greater the benefits we’ll reap, and one proven method of seeding cover crops is with a planter. Jon Bakehouse of Hastings, IA has outfitted a 30 foot Kinze 3600 split row planter with Seed Right plates to seed cereal rye ahead of soybeans. 

The basics: Jon seeds a cereal rye cover crop in 15-inch rows, which complements his 15-inch soybean rows. Jon aims for 2-inch seeding depth, and seeds around 55 lbs/acre. 
Pros of a planter: Jon prefers seeding cover crops with a drill or planter to establish a consistent cereal rye stand for weed control, and he can seed about 20 acres/hour with the planter. He notes that using his planter to seed cover crops means that he does not need to purchase or maintain a drill. 

You can learn more from Jon and Michael Vittetoe on how they meet their cover crop goals in a pre-recorded Farminar: Precision-Seeded Cover Crops.

If you've used cover crops before receive $10/acre. New to cover crops? Receive $40/acre. Fill out the application now to see if you’re eligible.
Reminder: attend a soil health or cover crop learning event
A requirement of participating in the cost share program is that you must attend a soil health or cover crop learning event. Events can be in-person or virtual. Upcoming events are listed below, and pre-recorded events are on the Practical Farmers of Iowa YouTube page.
If participating in NRCS cover crop cost share programs, keep in mind requirements for seeding date and rate. 

Requirements such as seeding dates and rates can be found in the “Iowa Agronomy Technical Note 38 (Cover Crop Management).”
A 2019 study done by seven c ooperators found that seeding cereal rye later and at a lighter rate reduces the amount of cover crop biomass, but did not affect soil health (soil carbon dioxide bursts), corn seedling disease incidence, or corn yield.

Lear more about the study and conclusions in this research report.
We’ve created a directory of businesses to help you meet your cover crop goals. On it, you can find custom applicators, seed suppliers, seed cleaners and more.

If you offer cover-crop products or services, email jason@practicalfarmers.org so we can list your business on the directory.
PFI staff worked with the Conservation Learning Group to develop the "Whole Farm Conservation Best Practices Manual," providing suggestions for cover crop seeding rate and date considerations (pages 34-37) and spring management considerations (pages 13-15).

You can download for free a PDF of the manual or email rebecca@practicalfarmers.org to receive a hard copy.
The end of field day season is approaching, but you can see recordings from most of this season’s field days—from roller crimping cover crops to grazing cover crops and beyond—on the Practical Farmers of Iowa YouTube page.
Hosted by: Jaqueline Comito & Jamie Benning
October 14 | 12 p.m.| Online

Hosted by: Iowa Learning Farms
October 20 | 1 p.m.| Online

Hosted by: Prashant Jha & Iowa Learning Farms
October 21 | 12 p.m.| Online

Hosted by: Sarah Carlson & Iowa Learning Farms
October 28 | 12 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Mitch Stephenson, Travis Mulliniks & UNL
October 29 | 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. | Online

Hosted by: Practical Farmers of Iowa & Partners
December 3 - 4 | 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. | 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.
How are you seeding cover crops this fall?
Overseeding (highboy, aerial application)
Drill or planter
Broadcasting with fall fertilizer
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.
Sarah Carlson
Strategic Initiatives Director
(515) 232-5661
Chris Wilbeck
Independent Contractor
(515) 232-5661
Rebecca Clay
Strategic Initiatives Agronomy Coordinator
(515) 232-5661