The non-profit group Practical Farmers of Iowa is launching a new smartphone application designed to make it easy for farmers to make decisions about cover crops in time for fall planting. Sarah Carlson, P-F-I’s strategic initiatives director, says the free app, called Find Cover Crops, aims to be a helpful resource and a time-saver.
The app also offers embedded how-to videos for seeding, grazing and terminating cover crops, in addition to showing farmers how to precisely identify the boundaries of fields to be cover cropped. The app is free to download via the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Perhaps one in ten Iowa farmers have planted cover crops in the past decade, and Carlson says many more need to — but don’t — due to time management issues and logistics.
All sorts of things can be planted as cover crops, but Carlson says cereal rye is the most popular and versatile, as it can be planted into late December.
Privately-funded cost share programs for cover crops are available through the Practical Farmers’ website which Carlson says may bring between ten and 40 dollar per acre, making the practice essentially risk-free. Learn more at: practicalfarmers.org.