The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) is partnering with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to encourage landowners to participate in the Cover Crop Incentive Program, for land that is currently in a continuous no-till cropping system.
NRCS No-till Specialist, Dan Gillespie, said, “Cover crops enhance rainfall infiltration, drastically reduce soil erosion, and help prevent the development of ephemeral gully erosion in cropland.” He added, “Cover crops may be planted into corn, soybean or small grain fields. Highly Erodible Land (HEL) fields where corn has been cut for silage are not eligible.”
Each participant is eligible to enroll up to 80 acres with a $200 contract minimum.
Participants in this practice should apply at their local NRCS office each year, for up to three consecutive years. Applicants may pick from three cover crop seeding options and three cover crop seed mixture options.
Aerial application or ground application by hi-boy (system that can be used in standing crops) will be performed starting in the last week of August to third week of September. The optimum timing will be at or shortly before soybean and corn plant senescence or yellowing of the lower leaves.
Gillespie continued, “If the producer is not able to get the aerial seeding performed by the third week in September they must no-till drill the cover crop immediately following harvest (by October 25).”
LENRD Projects Manager, Curt Becker, said “Participants may change seed mix alternatives and options during the three year period, but must have approval from the LENRD prior to planting the cover crop.” Becker added, “The producer is responsible for obtaining their own seed according to NRCS specifications and arranging for seeding either by pilot or ground application. Producers also must kill the cover crop per NRCS Cover Crop Termination Guidelines, without inversion tillage.”
Funding is limited, anyone interested in applying for the Cover Crop Program should contact their local NRCS office for more details.