Member Priority: Cover Crops
An earlier seeding date opens up
the opportunity for more diverse
cover crops like brassicas and
legumes that need more time and
heat units to grow than common
cover crops like cereal rye.
• Two farmer-cooperators
interseeded cover crops (cowpeas,
annual ryegrass, rapeseed) into
corn at the V4 stage in June. Corn
hybrids chosen exhibited vertical
and horizontal leaf orientations to
test whether more light penetrating
the corn canopy would encourage
successful cover crop establishment
• Corn leaf orientation and corn
planting population did not appear
to have much of an effect on the
interseeded cover crops.
• Jack Boyer saw corn yields reduced
by an average of 24 bu/ac due to
the interseeded cover crops.
January 15, 2018
Grazing cover crops can provide economic
returns to farming operations
within the same year cover crops are
• This study is in its third year and is
being conducted by farmers in the
North Raccoon watershed who are
participating in a Water Quality Initiative
• Utilizing cover crops as forage represents
a win-win for livestock producers
and the Iowa Nutrient Reduction
• Three cow-calf producers reported
that over two years, cover crops
provided up to 3.81 tons of dry
matter per acre.
• Grazing cover crops offset winter
feed expenses up to $38,953.
• Each farmer reaped economic
benefits within the same year of
planting the cover crops.
• Cost share was provided to each
farmer, which contributed to profitability.
January 4, 2018
How much is the grazing from cover crops worth? Mary Drewnoski, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Beef Systems Specialist, and Nebraska farmer Lane Meyer will discuss on-farm research results of grazing cover crops. Data will be presented on dry matter digestibility (energy) and crude protein content of different cover crop forages, average daily gains of growing calves, the amount of grazing cover crops provide, and the economics.
December 19, 2017
This year we are excited to offer continuing education credits (CEUs) to Certified Crop Advisors for several sessions at the PFI annual conference. Opportunities to earn 19 CEUs are offered in all four categories (nutrient management, soil and water management, crop management, and integrated pest management) throughout the short course and annual conference on January […]
December 18, 2017
Have you ever heard of “graze cropping?” John Stigge, a farmer from northeastern Kansas, owns Stigge and Sons farm, a 2000-acre no-till, cover crop and beef cattle operation. John is an advanced cover crop grazier and in lieu of planting a field for grain production, John plants cover crops and puts cattle out to graze for a whole production year or longer. John and his son Ian will discuss how his integrated crop and cattle system has improved soil health, productivity and profitability.
December 13, 2017
Within the farming community — and especially among Practical Farmers of Iowa members — there is a renewed focus on soil health, its role in crop productivity and environmental conservation, and the role played by soil microbes and farm management practices. On Practical Farmers’ 2017 member survey — a comprehensive questionnaire we send out every […]
December 8, 2017
December 7, 2017
As farmers wrap up their season and plan for next, PFI’s farmer-cooperators have an additional responsibility: submit the data they collected from this year’s research trials and plan next year’s projects. The first week in December marks the annual two-day Cooperators’ Meeting where farmer members meet to discuss these research results with each other and […]
December 6, 2017
Carmen Black and Mark Quee raise sheep on their diversified vegetable farms. They were curious if grazing a cover crop prior to a fall crop, rather than simply terminating the cover crop by mowing and tillage, would have an impact on the yield of the next crop. For this trial each farmer measured the yield […]
A roller-crimper presents farmers the opportunity to mechanically terminate cover crops without chemicals or tillage. This method is dependent on a large amount of cover crop growth and the cover crop reaching the flowering stage before crimping. A roller-crimper is a large, metal cylinder with “chevron” pattern blades that simultaneously lays the cover crop flat […]
December 4, 2017