The Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network is partnering with the Iowa Seed Association to offer insight into crop conditions, specifically grains seeded post-cover crops.
The Iowa Seed Association (Iowa Seed), in conjunction with the Agribusiness Association of Iowa (AAI), Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) and Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA), developed the Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crop Initiative.
The project, founded in 2016, focuses on ways to increase cover crop adoption within the seed corn production system. Shannon Moeller, project coordinator for the Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crop Initiative, says seed corn production systems offer a unique opportunity for cover crop adoption.
“Seed corn production is a little bit different than commercial crop production. There’s going to be a couple additional trips throughout the summer and extra machinery going through. Seed corn is also harvested quite a bit earlier, a month to six weeks earlier than commercial corn, leaving them bare for a longer time in the fall,” Moeller said.
The focus is also heavily driven by the seed corn industry, as evidenced by Iowa Seed’s “Cover Crops Challenge,” which encouraged seed production companies to seek ways they can be directly involved with promoting cover crop usage at the company and grower levels.
“Since 2015, companies across Iowa have been promoting cover crops after seed corn harvest,” Moeller said. “There are a lot of benefits to that. Cover crops help retain nutrients, build soil and organic matter in a high-stakes production system.”
The Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crop Initiative builds off the momentum of the “Cover Crops Challenge,” by providing the financial, informational and technical means for cover crop production following seed corn production.
“In our first year, we had nine companies agree to partner with us in promoting this project. In that year, we had 300-percent actual participation compared to anticipated participation. We continued to increase those acres in 2017. We had cover crops on about 50,000 acres after seed corn production. We are estimating, going into spring, between a quarter and a third of Iowa’s total seed corn production having cover crops on them,” Moeller said.
AgReliant Genetics, Bayer, Beck’s Hybrids, Cornelius Seed, Corteva Agriscience (Mycogen and Pioneer), Gro Alliance, Remington Seeds and Syngenta serve as partners in promoting cover crop usage following seed corn harvest.