Home 5 Ag Stories Implementing cover crops on prevent plant acres

Implementing cover crops on prevent plant acres

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Iowa

Many acres will be left unplanted, due to heavy rainfall across the Midwest.

Farmers, who are unable to plant, still have options.

Midwest producers reluctantly took prevent plant this spring, due to excessive flooding and heavy rainfall. However, a couple options still remain for the uncultivated land: Seeding an alternative crop, or abandoning the acres and planting a cover crop.

Michael Cruse, University of Minnesota Extension educator, recommends cover crops. Cruse sees the benefits of covering bare land.

“The two things you have to do in prevent plant: Control weeds and soil erosion. A cover crop will help you do both of those,” Cruse said. “They’re not required unless you have a conservation plan say, on highly erodible land. Then, you might have to have the cover crop on there.”

Livestock producers could also use cover crops for grazing purposes.

“If you’re looking for forage, you might be particular about what you want in that forage. If you’re looking to get something down, then you might sit there and go, ‘Gosh, I have these extra bags of seed, maybe I can mix some corn and move some soybeans and get something growing out there.”

Producers looking to hay, graze or cut cover crops for silage, haylage or baleage on prevented plant acres can do so on or after September 1, 2019 while maintaining eligibility for full prevented planting indemnity.

Cruse encourages producers to “act fast,” as cover crop seed is limited.

“One of the problems we’re running into because we have such a large area that’s going into prevent plant, a lot of cover crop seed is in short supply. It’s hard for people to find the ‘good stuff,'” Cruse said.