“Considering Cover Crops?” is a newly-published resource for Illinois farmers that provides a comprehensive guide to the most recent research and intelligence for effectively incorporating a cover crop ahead of corn, soybeans, and wheat. The Guide outlines comprehensive tactics for cover crop use as part of a nutrient management strategy. Research results from planting to termination of cover crops are included.
With funding from the Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council (NREC), researchers from the University of Illinois, Illinois State University and Purdue University are studying the various variables involved in a successful cover crop program. This research has been performed at an on-farm, field-scale level in several locations across Illinois and over multiple years. Researchers have planted cereal rye as a cover crop because it is easy to establish, hardy and easy to terminate – but emphasize that the same principles associated with rye can be used with wheat or winter barley as a cover crop.
The publication offers recommendations, observations, and advice to Illinois farmers on choice of cover crop, plus the timing of seeding and termination. The guide also features detailed photos that clearly illustrate the production practices being discussed.
As defined in the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, Illinois has a target of reducing nitrogen (N) losses by 410 million pounds and P losses by 38 million pounds by 2025. Cover crops are identified as an important tool in meeting that target. NREC’s investment in this research helps to support the collaboration across the agricultural industry, environmental groups, and engaged stakeholders.
The 12-page guide is available for download from the Illinois NREC website at https://www.illinoisnrec.org/cover-crop-guide-2-0/. Printed copies can be requested by emailing Julie.email@example.com.
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Due to the extreme wet weather conditions experienced this growing season, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) has introduced a targeted cover crop initiative program. The Prevented Planting Cover Crop (PPCC) incentive program is one of two cover crop programs being administered by IDOA this year. To qualify for the PPCC program producers had to have chosen the Prevented Planting option in their USDA RMA crop insurance program for 2019 and use cover crops on their prevented planting acres for weed control.
“Due to a high number of farmers taking Prevented Planting, we felt a cover crop initiative would benefit farmers and the soil—a win/win for both.,” said John Sullivan, Director, IDOA. “Cover crops help to control weeds on the Prevented Planting acres, conserve and prevent erosion of the soil and reduce nutrient runoff while the land lays fallow for the next growing season.”
IDOA has identified $400,000 to be used for the incentive program which is designed to help ease some of the pressure farmers face during this challenging weather season. To take advantage of this program producers will need to complete three required forms and documents which are available at their local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) or FSA office:
• FY20 Prevented Planting / Cover Crop Incentive Application and payment form (PP/CC1)
• Agreement and Terms Contract (PP/CC-1A)
• Copies of USDA-Farm Service Agency form 578
Once these forms and documents have been completed, applicants need to contact their local SWCD office to schedule an appointment to review and finalize the application process.
Feel free to contact your local county SWCD office or the IDOA’s Bureau of Land and Water Resources at (217) 782-6297, for additional information.
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