Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Our featured farmer is Erich Wickman, who farms 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans and heads Wickman Chemical near Atlantic, IA. Erich has been planting cover crops for five years and has recently started seeding his rye cover crop by mixing seed into his dry fertilizer mix. This year he’ll plant 1,000 acres to cover crops!

Speeding up seeding: Erich says, “I planted cover crops with aerial application at first, then I bought a drill and felt like it was too slow so could only do erosion concern areas. Last year we started spreading the dry fertilizer with the rye and turbo tilling it behind the combine.”

The air-rig holds 37 bushels of rye and blows the seed to the back of the tillage implement. Erich says they can seed about 200 acres each day with the new set-up.

Quicker seeding means greater benefits: With the speed at which Erich can seed, and by seeding immediately following the combine, the cover crops accumulate more biomass, which Erich says translates to greater weed control on his fields. The quick seeding method also means that they get to plant more acres to cover crops and reap the soil conservation benefits on more acres.

Cover crops as a part of a conservation ethic: Erich’s conservation ethic is marked. He says, “My number one commitment to my farms is building soil and conserving it.”
What is the status on the majority of your cover crop planting this fall?
Planted and germinated
Planted and not yet germinated
Planning to plant in the next few weeks
Planning to frost-seed cover crops in the spring
Not planning cover crops this fall
Previous poll results:
If you're seeding cereal rye, what rate are you seeding at this year?
  • Less than 35 pounds per acre - 7.9%
  • 35-45 pounds per acre - 13.2%
  • 45-55 pounds per acre - 65.8%
  • I will adjust my seeding rate based on my seeding date - 7.9%
  • I'm not seeding cereal rye this year - 5.3%
Check out these videos on equipment modifications for quicker cover crop seeding
Cover crop seed and application prices often continue to rise the later into fall we get. Think about getting ahead of the price jump with businesses on our directory.

To get your business listed in the cover crop business directory, e-mail jason@practicalfarmers.org with your business name, services offered, website or Facebook page, location and phone number.
Are you participating in an NRCS or IDALS cover crop cost share program? Make sure you meet the required seeding rates and dates. Also check with your county office if the seeding dates are extended. 
Enrolled in cost-share? Don't forget to attend one of the cover crop learning events listed below!
Remember, if you’re enrolled in the PFI-administered cover crop cost share program, you are required to attend a cover crop or soil health learning event this calendar year. We are running out of in-person events to attend, so if you haven’t been able to attend, please attend one of the farminars listed at the bottom of the email.
Hold on to your cover crop receipts!
After Thanksgiving we will request a copy of your cover crop receipts for verification. You’ll receive an email survey to submit receipts.
Hosted by: Smithfield Grain
October 9 | 5-7 p.m. | Allerton

Hosted by: Lucas Bayer and Poweshiek County NRCS & SWCD
November 13 | 10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Guernesy, IA

Hosted by: Mike Jackson and Practical Farmers
November 20 | 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. | Rose Hill, IA
Host a cover crop meet-up!
Want to host a casual gathering to talk cover crops? Sarah Carlson will bring the pizza and drinks. You bring the neighbors to talk cover crops. Contact Sarah if interested sarah@practicalfarmers.org.
Some cover crop Farminars from PFI
Precision-Seeded Cover Crops with Jon Bakehouse and Michael Vittetoe

The Economics of Cover Crops with Ajay Nair, Fred Iutzi and Chat Watts

Don't see one that interests you? We have many other cover crop-themed farminars-- find one that is relevant to you by looking around in our Farminar archive.
Are you planning or hosting a cover crop field day? Send the details to rebecca@practicalfarmers.org, and we’ll include it in our next newsletter!
Practical Farmers of Iowa’s strategic initiatives team wishes you a happy and safe harvest. We’ll catch you again in November!
Alisha Bower
Strategic Initiatives Manager
(515) 232-5661
Sarah Carlson
Strategic Initiatives Director
(515) 232-5661
Chris Wilbeck
Independent Contractor
(515) 232-5661
Rebecca Clay
Strategic Initiatives Assistant
(515) 232-5661