Posted on November 27, 2018 at 11:45 AM by Iowa Corn
Hopefully your harvest is complete or close to wrapping up. It’s been a tough fall for implementing conservation practices due to rain, late harvest and now frozen soils. For example, the deadline for seeding cover crops was extended twice to December 1. Fall dirt work for structural practices such as terraces and grass waterways has been difficult. If you are having trouble getting the fall weather to cooperate, you may want to consider applying for a summer construction incentive. Soil and water conservation districts may offer a payment to set aside land for construction in the summer. Contact your local district to see what it offers.
With increased funding for water quality practices, we’ll continue to see time crunches for implementing conservation practices especially in short fall windows. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has outlined its plan for increased funding with an emphasis on edge of field practices including bioreactors, saturated buffers and wetlands. These practices reduce nitrogen loss from tile outlets by installing drainage control structures and routing the water through a treatment process. Since these practices involve digging up tile, summer construction may be a good option to spread out the work load.
A reminder that sign up is now open for farmers using cover crops to receive a $5 per acre premium reduction on next year’s crop insurance. There is no acreage limit, but those already receiving state or federal cost share are not eligible for acres covered by cost share. Any additional acres would be eligible. Sign up is online at www.cleanwateriowa.org/covercropdemo and the deadline is January 15, 2019.
The Soil Health Partnership has a new farm sustainability assessment tool to help measure sustainability in a way that makes agronomic sense. The fifteen-minute assessment will provide a customized report, provide recommendations to boost your score and set benchmarks for future assessments. Click here for more information and to take the assessment. We need hundreds of farmers to participate nationwide in order to provide an adequate sample size for comparisons.
Kevin Ross of Minden discusses trying something different and adding new conservation practices like cover crops.