Due to the late harvest this fall, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service in Iowa announced on October 17 that the agency is granting a two-week extension for seeding winter hardy cover crops. "Farmers may still be eligible for USDA financial assistance if they seed their winter hardy cover crops, including winter rye, winter triticale and winter wheat by October 31," says state NRCS agronomist Barb Stewart. Original deadline was October 15. The extension does not apply to oats or radishes.
Cover crops planted by October 31 may still provide substantial reduction in nutrient losses and reductions in soil erosion potential. "Success in reducing nutrient losses and reducing the soil erosion potential depends on several important factors including choice of cover crop species, method of seeding and location within Iowa," she says.
Additional cover crop benefits include:
* Weed suppression
* Increasing soil organic matter
* Improving overall soil quality
* Increasing infiltration rates of rainfall
According to Iowa State University Extension agronomist Steve Barnhart, cover crops such as winter rye, triticale, and winter wheat still have a good opportunity to emerge and grow this fall, with a good chance of survival over the winter and regrowth in the spring. ISU recommends drilling cover crop seed into soybean stubble to provide good establishment of winter rye, triticale and wheat. For more information on cover crops contact your local NRCS office.
Iowa Ag Department also extending cover crop seeding deadline to Oct. 31
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey on October 17 also announced that farmers participating in the state of Iowa's water quality cost-share program, who are intending to plant cover crops, have until October 31, 2013 to get the cover crops planted and still qualify for the cost-share financial assistance.
This extension of the deadline this fall applies to state funded programs and is only available for those species that are likely to establish well, specifically winter rye, winter triticale and winter wheat. "Everything has been behind this year in terms of fieldwork, due to the extremely wet spring weather. So some farmers have been unable to get their cover crops planted as timely has they had anticipated," Northey notes. "Agronomists from Iowa State University have assured us there are still significant water quality benefits to planting certain cover crops and that is why we have extended the deadline until the end of this month."
Recommended cutoff date for seeding cover crops in fall was previously Oct. 15
Recommended cutoff date for seeding cover crops was previously October 15. However, now the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship has received guidance from Iowa State University agronomists that cover crops planted after October 15 will still have the potential to provide a substantial reduction in nutrient losses and soil erosion—so the state agriculture department extended the planting deadline until the end of October.
"Farmers who've been approved for cost share assistance and are still unable to get cover crops seeded should contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District office," says Northey.