Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Alan Zellmer of Atlantic, IA saves on cattle inputs by using cereal rye creatively – his rye hosts calves in the spring, provides green forage for cattle and is even fermented to become silage.

Join Alan for a virtual field day to learn more about integrating rye and cattle on June 2, at 10 a.m.
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.

In addition to supporting our cover crop cost share program, Unilever is supporting families and healthcare workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Crop insurance & cover crops
Remember that your crop insurance has rules about when you must terminate your cover crop. Full guidelines are listed in this PDF. Cover crop termination date can be later than those listed in the guidelines if the producer can show that according to existing university research, it will not negatively impact the cash crop OR they can present a written document of support for the practice from an agricultural expert ( defined in this FAQ section).
In this farminar, Jim Larson of Sioux Rapids and Pat Jones of Spencer share their methods for harvesting, storing and feeding ryelage to both beef and dairy cattle.

Farmers Wesley Degner, Bill Frederick and Mark Schleisman measured the economic impact of grazing cover crops in their cow/calf operations over a span of two years.

Iowa State Extension’s Beth Doran compiled a fact sheet of nutrition information and feeding tips for ryelage and grazing rye.

Last week’s cooler temperatures have some farmers wondering about frost damage to small grain and forage legume crops.

Read this blog for resources on how to assess for this issue on your farm.
Farmers planting cover crops for the first time are eligible for $25/ac. Farmers continuing to plant cover crops can receive $15/ac. Growers using no-till or strip-till for the first time can receive $10/ac. Farmers who use a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor to apply fall fertilizer are eligible for $3 per acre through the cost-share fund.

Public cost share opportunities such as this can be coupled with the cost share PFI administers. Read the full announcement here.
To comply with current restrictions on group meetings, Practical farmers will be hosting field days online. Please watch for updates on our website; in Practical News, our weekly email newsletter; on our Facebook page; and if you are a member, on our email discussion lists.
Hosted by: Practical Farmers and Alan Zellmer
June 2 | 10 – 11 a.m. | Online

Hosted by: Pasture Project and Andrea Basche
June 10 | 2 – 3 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Tama Soil & Water Conservation District
June 23 | 3 – 6 p.m. | Grinnell, IA

Hosted by: IL Sustainable Ag Partnership & Carl Zimmerman
June 25 | 11 a.m. – noon | Online

Hosted by: Macon County (IL) SWCD and Rick Clark
July 15 | 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Decatur, IL

Hosted by: Soil and Water Conservation Society
July 27-29 | Online
Want to host an online gathering to talk about cover crops? We’ll help you with the tech, and you invite your neighbors. 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.
What are the different ways you use cereal rye on your farm?
Cut livestock feed costs
Save seed for the following year's cover crop
Reduce weed pressure
Just use as a cover crop for now
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:
What's the status of your soybeans going into cover crop? (Asked May 6)
  • Planted, but haven't checked seed placement - 21.4%
  • Planted, seed germinated & in low moisture or too shallow - 0%
  • Planted, seed germinated & in good moisture - 50%
  • Not planted yet - 28.6%
Sarah Carlson
Strategic Initiatives Director
(515) 232-5661
Chris Wilbeck
Independent Contractor
(515) 232-5661
Rebecca Clay
Strategic Initiatives Agronomy Coordinator
(515) 232-5661