Cover crop planting deadline extended

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Acting State Conservationist Richard Ellsmore with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently announced that the planting deadline for cover crops for farmers participating in state cost share programs and most federal financial assistance programs has been extended.
“We have seen significant growth in the number of farmers using cover crops and number of acres that they are used on. There are an estimated 236,000 acres of cover crops supported by just state cost share programs. Some crops were delayed by wet weather this spring and this extension will help farmers still be able to use this important water quality practice even if their harvest is delayed,” Northey said.
Farmers intending to plant winter hardy cover crops that are north of Highway 20 now have until November 1, 2015 to get the cover crops planted.  Farmers south of Highway 20 now have until November 15 to plant and still qualify for assistance. The following applies to cover crops planted during the extension period (October 16 - November 1 north of Highway 20 and October 16 -November 15 South of Highway 20):
• Cover crops will be seeded as soon as possible after harvest of the principal crop.
• The cover crop to be seeded must be winter hardy (i.e. cereal rye, winter wheat, triticale).
• The cover crop will be no-till drilled in crop residue.
• Allow cover crop to add growth as long as possible in the spring prior to termination to maximize benefits. Must be allowed to grow until at least six inches for those participating in federal programs.
• The extension does not apply for all federal programs. Contact your NRCS office if you have questions.
Farmers approved for cost-share assistance who are still unable to plant cover crops should contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) office.
For questions on the extension of the seeding date for State funded programs such as Iowa Financial Incentive Program (IFIP) or Water Quality Incentive (WQI) Program contact the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at 515- 281-5851. For questions on the extension of the seeding date for Federal funded programs such as Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) or Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contact Barbara Stewart, State Agronomist, NRCS at 515-323-2260.