Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Ryan Corrie of Rushville, IL is our November featured farmer. Ryan began cover cropping in 2013 as a way to increase soil organic matter and improve soil structure on his farm. This year he has already seeded over 550 acres of cover crops—mostly cereal rye ahead of beans—by mounting an air-seeder to his vertical tillage implement.

Too late to seed cover crops? Ryan says no; in fact, he’ll continue to seed cover crops for the next few weeks in the hope that they’ll still get a week or two of warmth allowing for some fall growth. “But even if it doesn’t warm up this fall again, the rye will germinate in the spring and keep the ground covered,” he says.
When asked if he’ll increase his seeding rate since he’s planting late, he said that he will keep his seeding rate around his typical 45-50 lb/acre. A few years ago he upped his seeding rate when he planted late. A warm fall enabled the cover crop to put on a lot of biomass. In the wet spring, terminating the cover crop was challenging, and the thick stand acted like a wet blanket. “You’ve got to manage risk,” says Ryan.

Coupling passes saves time and money Ryan’s air seeder mounted on the vertical tillage implement keeps him from having to make an additional pass to seed cover crops. “My only additional expense is the seed itself.” Plus his system is quick: at 8.5-9 mph, he can seed up to 200-250 acres per day.

Don’t overwhelm yourself Ryan says that one thing that might keep people from trying out cover crops is how complicated it can appear. “You get the farm magazine, and they’re talking about aerial seeding cover crops into 60-inch rows, and they’re talking about 12 species cover crop mixes. It can be intimidating,” Ryan explained. He recommends farmers keep it simple and at a small scale: “Try cereal rye going to beans with a low number of acres. Use an implement you already have to seed cover crops, or have a retailer spread it on with fall fertilizer.”
IDALS is offering a $5 per acre discount on crop insurance for farmers who plant cover crops this fall.

The cover crop acres cannot be enrolled in other state or federal cover crop cost share programs, but can be enrolled in private cost share programs, such as the ones PFI administers. Don’t miss out on this $5 per acre discount! Learn more and apply here by January 15, 2020.
Check out the businesses in our cover crop directory. Or do you have cover crop seed or services to sell?

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.
Join the PFI cover crop discussion list!
We believe farmers know best. PFI’s cover crops email discussion list is a platform for farmers who grow cover crops to ask questions of other experts and share their own expertise. Email debra@practicalfarmers.org or call (515) 232-5661 to join.

If Facebook is more your speed, consider joining the group Everything Cover Crops where you can share your cover cropping photos, videos, and tips; ask questions and learn from others. 
How do you prioritize timely seeding of cover crops?
I hire a custom applicator to drill
I hire an applicator to fly on seed
I work it into my harvest routine
I couple seeding with another pass (VT, fall fertilizer or combine)
I get around to seeding as much as I can when I'm able to
Previous poll results:
What's the latest you've planted rye and still had a good stand?
  • Late October - 17.6%
  • Early November - 29.4%
  • Late November - 26.5%
  • Early December - 8.8%
  • Frost-seeded following spring - 11.8%
  • I have never planted rye - 5.9%
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.
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: Jerry Dove and Dry Run Creek Watershed
November 21 | Time TBA | Janesville, IA

Hosted by: Jerry Dove and Dry Run Creek Watershed
November 21 | Time TBA | Janesville, Iowa
Hosted by: Iowa Forage & Grassland’s Council and ISU McNay Research Farm
November 25-26 | Des Moines, IA
Hosted by: Titan Machinery
December 3 |5:30 – 7:30 p.m. | Grundy Center, IA
Hosted by: Iowa State Extension
December 4-5 | Ames, IA
Hosted by: ILF and Luana Savings Bank Community Center
December 5 |10 a.m. – Noon | Luana, IA
Minimizing Nutrient Loss Workshop
Hosted by: Muchakinock Creek, South Skunk River watershed projects and Mahaska Co. SWCD
December 10 | Noon | Oskaloosa, IA
Hosted by: ILF, ISU, and Dordt University
December 11 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. | Sioux Center, IA
Hosted by: Practical Farmers of Iowa
January 16-18 | Ames, Iowa
Hosted by: Midwest Cover Crop Council
February 11-12 | Kansas City, Missouri
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.
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!
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