Keep Cover in the System 1.17.19
With crop prices low, you might be tempted to reduce costs by not planting cover crops.Cover crop benefits accrue over time which makes their use a little tougher to quantify. In your decision process keep this in-mind: a one percent improvement in organic matter is worth about $600.00 per acre. (James Hoorman, Ohio State Univ).
Here are a few ways to cut down your cover crop costs:
-make sure you have the correct rate for the seed or mix you are planting. More isn’t necessary better, especially in mixes.
-plan your cash crop hybrids to allow time to plant your cover crops. Drilling gets better germination which requires less seed than broadcasting.
-modify your existing equipment to sow covers. Put a seed box on a vertical till or rotary hoe. Rig a broadcast seeder to a corn detassler.
- offer your services to your neighbors to help you justify those costs.
-grow your own cover crop seed. You can use it and sell it without being certified, but you can’t advertise or deliver it. Or you can get certified by the State Chemists office as a seed producer.
-if you use mixes, work with your supplier to get the same benefits with cheaper species. Use the Midwest Cover Crop Council or similar seeding tool.
-growing your nitrogen with a legume cover crop.
-use wheat seed as a cover crop.
-explore the use of programs to offset the costs.
Call. We can help. Dan Rosswurm USDA/NRCS 574-223-3220