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Check out cover crop incentives

By Staff | Apr 22, 2011

An aerial view of a field seeded with winter rye in Wright County. The rye will be destroyed this spring ahead of planting corn or soybeans.

One may be puzzled observing a few fields in our area that are green this time of the year.

Most likely the green fields are the results of a “new” field management practice of winter rye being planted last fall.

Winter rye, as a cover crop, is planted in the fall for various reasons including:

  • To cover the soil after the harvest of corn and soybeans reducing topsoil erosion.
  • Improving soil structure.
  • Sequestering nitrogen the crop did not use and thereby keeping it out of local streams and rivers.

Properly managed, rye can reduce soil-borne diseases and nematodes.

These green fields of rye will soon be gone. They have served their purpose and will be tilled or sprayed to make way for planting corn or soybeans.

They have, however, been a contrast in what Iowans are accustomed to seeing – the bare, black soils throughout the winter.

There are financial incentives to plant a cover crop through the Natural Resource Conservation Service.If you have questions on cover crops or the incentives available, call the NRCS office at (515) 532-2165 in Wright County or (515) 832-2916 in Hamilton County.

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