DES MOINES — Because of the late harvest, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is granting farmers a two-week extension for seeding winter hardy cover crops.
“Farmers may still be eligible for USDA financial assistance if they seed their winter hardy cover crops like winter rye, winter triticale and winter wheat by Oct. 31,” said State Agronomist Barb Stewart.
The original deadline was Oct. 15. The extension does not apply to oats or radishes.
Cover crops planted by Oct. 31 may still provide substantial reduction in nutrient losses and soil erosion potential.
“Success in reducing nutrient losses and soil erosion potential depends on several important factors, including choice of cover crop species, method of seeding, and location within Iowa,” Stewart said.
Additional cover crop benefits include:
• Weed suppression
• Increasing soil organic matter
• Improving overall soil quality
• Increasing infiltration rates
According to Iowa State University Extension, winter rye, triticale and winter wheat still have a good opportunity to emerge and grow this fall, with a good chance of survival over the winter and regrowth in the spring. ISU recommends drilling cover crop seed into soybean stubble for good establishment of winter rye, triticale and wheat.
For more information, contact your local NRCS office.