Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Brock Hansen of Baxter, IA has recently started to think about cover crops as a form of weed control on his soybean fields. On one of Brock’s farms, the lambsquarters pressure is so great that in past years he has walked beans to hand-pull the bigger plants. This led him to wonder if he could use cover crops as a mulch to control the weeds, while potentially omitting the second herbicide pass.
Skipping a second pass: This spring Brock drilled soybeans at the beginning of May, and terminated the rye about 20 days later, using glyphosate with a residual and AMS. Brock says, “Our hope is that by the time the rye lies down, the soybean canopy will be filling out, and we’ll be able to skip the second pass.”
Spot spraying: Brock notes, “In reality, we want to be aggressive with controlling the lambsquarters and pigweed on this farm. We’ll probably spot-spray the problem areas. Sure, this takes more time, but I get to save on herbicide costs, and we limit the risk for herbicide resistance on this farm.”
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.
PFI farmer researchers Sam Bennett of Galva, Jon Bakehouse of Hastings and Tim Sieren of Keota continue to research how terminating rye later and later impacts their soybean crop. Read about their initial findings and plans for 2020.

In this farminar, farmer Sam Bennett shared his observations of how cereal rye suppressed weeds in his on-farm trial. Member Gina Nichols follows with a summary of a literature review on the subject and results of her analysis of soil samples taken at other PFI cooperators’ cover crop strip trials.
Cover crops can compete with and suppress weeds such as waterhemp to minimize their harm to the cash crop.
  • For the IDALS cost share program farmers planting cover crops for the first time are eligible for $25/ac.
  • Farmers continuing to plant cover crops can receive $15/ac.
  • Farmers 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.
This summer, Practical Farmers is hosting all of our field days online —making it easier for you to “attend” field days over a broader geography. Check out the full field day lineup here.
Hosted by: Pasture Project and Andrea Basche
June 10 | 2 – 3 p.m. | Online
Hosted by: Practical Farmers and Tom Wind
June 11 | 2:15 – 3:15 p.m. | Online
Hosted by: Practical Farmers, Jon Bakehouse and Sam Bennett
June 17 | 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. | Online
Hosted by: Tama Soil & Water Conservation District
June 23 | 3 – 6 p.m. | Grinnell, IA
Hosted by: Practical Farmers and Martin Larsen
June 24 | 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. | Online
Hosted by: Practical Farmers and Matt Miller
June 25 | 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. | Online
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 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 many herbicide passes do you typically make on soybean fields?
Two: A pre emerge and a post emerge
Two: One to terminate the cover crop and a post emerge
Just one to terminate the cover crop with a residual
No herbicide passes, organic management
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 are the different ways you use cereal rye on your farm?
  • Reduce weed pressure - 47.6%
  •  Just use as a cover crop for now - 28.6%
  • Cut livestock feed costs - 14.3%
  • Save seed for the following year's cover crop - 9.5%
Sarah Carlson
Strategic Initiatives Director
(515) 232-5661
Chris Wilbeck
Independent Contractor
(515) 232-5661
Rebecca Clay
Strategic Initiatives Agronomy Coordinator
(515) 232-5661