As a management practice, cover crop adoption has grown exponentially over the past 5-10 years, and for good reason. Having a green cover during fallow periods in our cropping cycle greatly reduces soil erosion, alleviates compaction, builds soil organic matter and reduces nutrient losses to surface and ground waters. Cover crops reduce both nitrogen and phosphorus losses by approximately 30%. Short of putting in a wetland or edge-of-field practice, cover crops are the single biggest thing we can do within our current crop production system to meet the goals of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
Cover crops help to build soil structure and improve overall soil health, making them a popular choice for producers and landowners alike. Funding options include a half-dozen or more cost share programs ranging from 3-5 year EQIP and CSP contracts through NRCS to single year agreements through WQI, the Iowa Seed Association and others. If you’re interested in including cover crops in your cropping system, chances are good that we can help you find a program that will work for you.