Changes to Cover Crop Rules

KIMT NEWS 3 — Area farms are looking a lot more like wetlands than places to plant crops.

The large amount of rain is causing many farmers to seek insurance help.

That requires them to have what is called a cover crop, which is plants like grasses or oats that are not worth much for farming, but help to keep the farm from eroding or turning over to weeds.

Most farmers were not able to meet the deadline to plant their cover crop and have already bought and treated their seed for soybeans and corn.

“They can’t return it to their dealer, so they’re stuck with it and the germination will quickly deteriorate so it’s not like they can hold it for a year. So it’s either you’ve got to burn it or put it in a landfill, it’s just unfortunate, so they were questioning, is there some way we could put those extra soybeans on and call it a cover crop?” said Lee Crawford of the Freeborn County Farm Service Agency.

Some farmers are dealing with a different problem.

“There’s been some other producers who’ve had their pre-plant chemicals down which would kill broad leaves and grasses so you can’t put oats as a cover crop because it would kill it, that’s just a waste of money,” Crawford said.

Farmers are now allowed to use their corn or soybeans in a mixed form as a cover crop. It is required to be a mix so it cannot be harvested and also claimed as a cover crop.

Another option is leaving an untilled field with leftover corn stocks as a cover crop.

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