As of Aug. 30 the Cherokee Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) is offering producers a one-time payment of $25 per acre for establishing a cover crop.
Since funds are in limited supply there will be a limit of 120 acres per applicant. Interested parties should stop by the USDA Service Center located at 314 Lake St. in Cherokee or call the office at 225-4151. Applications must be approved by the commissioners prior to starting the practice in order to be eligible.
Cover crops include small grains, grasses, legumes and forbs. Common cover crops used in Iowa include winter hardy rye and wheat. Other effective cover crops include oats, spring wheat, red clover, and sweet clover.
If you want to cut fertilizer costs and reduce the need for herbicides and other pesticides, cover crops could be an option for your farming operation. The cost of planting cover crops will be paid back in the improved soil health it generates.
Cover crops are widely accepted as an effective management tool to control erosion from wind and water and reduce the potential for nitrates to leach into our surface waters and ground waters. Nitrate transport to streams can be particularly high after a drought period.