Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Welcome to the Practical Cover Cropper Newsletter! 

Have you considered adding cover crops to your farm and wondered how to get started? Or are you looking to take cover crops to the next level and want to learn from farmers about how they are making it pay today?

This newsletter will give you cover crop content straight from farmers’ observations and on-farm research trials plus peer-reviewed scientific articles to help you best answer your most pressing cover crop questions. We will share events and updates about cover crop happenings in Iowa and beyond. Check out our new cover crop webpage or sign up for the 2019 cover crop cost share program here!

Warm Wishes,
Sarah Carlson
Sarah Carlson, PFI's Strategic Initiatives Director
In each edition of The Practical Cover Cropper we will introduce you to farmer experts from around the state and beyond who are eager to share their knowledge and help you succeed with cover crops. Who better to feature in the first edition than our very own cover crop celebrity, Sarah Carlson.

Sarah is the Strategic Initiatives Director at PFI and If you’ve been interested in cover crops at all over the past ten years, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Sarah out on the circuit sharing research findings about the benefits of cover crops and recommending that whatever you do, “Don’t Farm Naked!”  

Recently, she’s been highlighting how investment in cover crops can protect your bottom line.  Click on the graphic below to learn 7 ways you can make cover crops pay today by protecting revenues and reducing the cost of cover crop establishment.
Enrollment for the 2019 cover crop cost share program is now open! To determine if you are eligible, you can fill out an online application in less than five minutes.  In addition to financial support, this program gives you a free PFI membership and the opportunity to consult with our network of cover crop experts. If you enroll before June 15, you'll also have access to a cover crop seed and application discount to Iowa Cover Crop.
Controlling waterhemp has been a hot topic of discussion around rural coffee shops. Farmers all over the Midwest have been trying to tame the waterhemp beast for years, but are struggling to win the fight. Managing this weed is clearly not easy, but there are some simple practices you can implement to help manage it, starting with understanding the weeds in your field.
Many farmers are experimenting with cover crop planting methods to make the most use of their time and resources. Jon Bakehouse has experimented with special plates that let him use his planter to seed cereal rye on 15- and 30-inch rows. Michael Vittetoe has been experimenting with seeding cereal rye on 8-inch twin rows on 30-inch centers using a drill. Both farmers shared their thoughts on these seeding methods and what they plan to do in the future in a PFI farminar.
Cover crops economics resources
Worried about the cost of cover crops? Here are a few resources to help you save costs and give you an idea of what your cover crops are worth!

Have you seen positive short-term return on investment from your cover crops?
Yes - reduced herbicide, increased yield, etc.
No - still a long-term investment
Unsure - new to cover crops
Shared Learning Call: Estimating N to Corn from a Legume Cover Crop
March 1 | Noon - 1 p.m. | ( 641) 715-3620 | passcode 357330#

Conference: Cover Crop Conference
March 1 | 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. | Durant

March 5 | 2 - 5 p.m. | Beaman

Practical Farmers events are in blue. Non-PFI events are in red.
Alisha Bower
Strategic Initiatives Manager
(515) 232-5661
Sarah Carlson
Strategic Initiatives Director
(515) 232-5661
Shannon Kooima
Strategic Initiatives Assistant
(515) 232-5661
Sierra Becker
Sustainable Agriculture Assistant
(515) 232-5661