Home 5 Ag Stories Use cover crops to overcome the damage of 2020

Use cover crops to overcome the damage of 2020

Mark Licht on the Iowa State University Agronomy farm. (Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University)

The 2020 harvest is in full swing. It is the biggest step we can take to put this year behind us. Farmers have often been called “eternal optimists.” They are always looking for how next year could be better. As you make your passes through your fields this fall, take note of what is going on. It will help you prepare for 2021. Just like 2019, 2020 is going to leave behind challenges that farmers will need to overcome the next growing season.

Cover crops could help alleviate a few of those problems.

Mark Licht is with Iowa State University (ISU). He talks about some of the challenges that 2020 is going to leave for us to tackle in 2021. Nitrogen storage is going to be an issue. As the spring rains come at the beginning of the next growing season, that nitrogen is going to want to leech. Cover crops can go a long way to helping prevent that from happening.

Many farmers had to till under what had been perfectly good corn before the derecho. This corn had been some of the best in the state. Now when you are tilling those under, you have the potential for a volunteer corn issue next year. Cover crops could help neutralize a lot of that problem without the need for extensive tillage or chemical treatments.

Licht says the best time to be getting your cover crops seeded is before October 15th.

To find out more about cover crops and other conservation tools, log on to the 4R Plus website.