Beck’s Hybrids, the largest family-owned, retail seed company in the United States, notes increased adoption of conservation practices across its Iowa footprint.
Adam Smith serves as corn grower manager for Beck’s Hybrids. Over the past couple of years, Smith has seen a continued interest in conservation, particularly via cover crops.
“We get a few more growers trying it out each year,” Smith says. “We have growers who utilize it for their livestock, growers who utilize it, if they do tile work or want to hold in a couple erosion areas. We have growers in the Muscatine are who use it to hold the blow sand down, and a couple guys who enjoy it for the purpose of cover crops: To help with water quality in the area.”
Beck’s picking crews harvested this year’s seed corn crop in 33 days. The quick harvest provided farmers an opportunity to implement cover crops early.
“(It) seems like there have been quite a few guys implementing more (cover crops) this year. We’ve seen the expansion of the South Skunk River Watershed, into Henry County,” Smith says. “With cost-share programs, growers have been implementing more (cover crops) as well.
Those considering this practice, should “create a plan and assess cost-share opportunities,” according to Smith.
“Try to find a cost-share program to absorb some of the cost. Then look at different mixes. What’s your plan? Do you want to use it for grazing, erosion control, to help with compaction, or fertility of the soil?,” Smith asks. “I recommend winter kill products for (the) first year, so guys don’t have to worry about trying to killing it in the spring and getting their beans in. Once they start to get a good adoption, start seeing the benefits, I’d tell them to pursue other mixes and use what works best for them.”
Beck’s Hybrids proudly supports the Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crop Initiative, which offers cost-share funding to seed corn growers implementing cover crops post-seed corn harvest. For more information on this effort, visit sustainableseedcorn.org.