Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Jeremy and Kelly Gustafson farm just north of Jordan, IA between Boone and Ames. They grow corn, soybeans, hogs, cover crops, a u-pick pumpkin patch and sell seed corn. Jeremy has been featured in numerous Practical Farmers articles and research projects over the years as he’s tested new ways to stay profitable while protecting the soil and improving water quality that leaves his farm. Jeremy serves as a Boone County commissioner and recently hosted a cover crop meet-up while field work was on hold due to heavy rains.

This spring, for the first time ever, Jeremy planted soybeans before his corn and into a living rye cover crop. This was a first for him. Jeremy had to make sure that his planter was set up to plant into living rye and no-till conditions on his Clarion-Nicollet-Webster soil series.
This soil series is common in the central part of Iowa and dependent on drainage tile to be farmable. However, more farmers like Jeremy are realizing that combining tile drainage with cover crops and reduced tillage helps get in the field faster.

Getting in the field faster doesn’t mean we can forget the basics. Watch Jeremy’s video about the basics of planter setup for higher residue field conditions.
Jeremy's keys to success for planting sooner and into higher residue:
  1. Building better soil structure helps improve closing the seed slot for improved stands.
  2. Let the rye grow, when I killed rye way ahead soybean planting the soil was wetter and harder to plant. Let the rye wick moisture out of the ground. Plant soybeans green.
  3. Don’t forget the planter basics and also get the trash whippers out of the way. The planter will run right through the living rye.
  4. Make sure the seed is planted at the right depth. Double check depth several times as you get started to determine what down pressure setting is right.
On fields with cover crops have you been able to plant:
Sooner than fields with no cover crops
Same as fields with no cover crops
Later than fields with no cover crops
Previous poll results:
Do you plant green? (into a standing cover crop)

  • Yes, both corn and soybeans are "planted green" into a living cover crop - 48%
  • Yes, but only beans are "planted green" into a living cover crop - 40.5%
  • No, I have not started planting cover crops yet - 11.5%
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. Farmers who enroll before July 1 may also be eligible for a discount on seed and application through Iowa Cover Crop.
Let us know your barriers to starting or expanding a cover crop business
Rain delay got you down? Attend this cover crop meet-up.
Tuesday, May 28 | 6 - 7 p.m. 

Bronson Allred is our host for this event. Hear from Maree Johnson of Cargill about corn markets and Sarah Carlson of PFI about cost share opportunities. Come for the food and stay for the discussion! Want to host a meet-up of your own? Contact Shannon Kooima by emailing shannon_k@practicalfarmers.org.
Come learn more about cover crops during these specific field days!
Head to our website for more details and directions for these events and more.
Host: Terry Ward
June 4 | 4 - 7 p.m.
La Porte City

Host: Brian Corkill
June 6 | 4 - 7 p.m.
Kewanee, IL

Host: Loran Steinlage
June 13 | 3 - 5:30 p.m.
West Union

Host: Wayne Bunsman
June 18 | 10:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Host: Tim Sieren
June 20 | 5 - 8 p.m.
Hosts: David & Ann Cramer
June 26 | 6 - 8:30 p.m.
Fostoria, OH

Host: Sam & Danielle Bennett & Family
July 2 | 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Grundy County Fairgrounds
July 17 | 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Grundy Center

Host: Adam Nechanicky
August 6 | 2 - 7 p.m.

Host: Greg Rebman
August 22 | 1 - 4 p.m.
Frederick, IL
Alisha Bower
Strategic Initiatives Manager
(515) 232-5661
Sarah Carlson
Strategic Initiatives Director
(515) 232-5661
Shannon Kooima
Strategic Initiatives Assistant
(515) 232-5661