Cover Crop Resources

Cover crops are a great way to improve soil health. Many Iowa farmers are adding cover crops to their crop rotations so soil stays covered when the fields are not growing other crops. Cover crops also improve soil organic matter and slow water runoff.

Farmers have many questions about incorporating cover crops. Most asked questions include: what kinds of plants can be used, when and how to seed and when and how to terminate. With field days and workshops, Iowa Learning Farms strives to help farmers, and other interested people, find the answers to these questions and more. 

Cover Crop Research and Demonstrations in Iowa
(list and contact information)


Cover Crop Cost Calculator

A new tool has been created to help calculate and compare the cost of drilling or aerial seeding cover crops. The downloadable Excel file calculates the total cost of using the cover crop including seed, application, and chemical termination. You can use the calculator for a single cover crop species or up to six species to a mixture. The tool calculates the cost of drilling and aerial application for easy comparison.

To use the calculator, download and open the Excel file (Microsoft Excel software must be installed on your computer in order to use the file). Any cell that is shaded in yellow can have a value inserted including the cost of the seed in $/lb, and the cost of application.

Cover Crop Cost Calculator Excel file


Cover Crop Seeding Rate Calculator

Another new tool can be used similarly as the Cost Calculator to find out seeding rates for several varieties of single species cover crops and for mixes too.

To use the Seeding Rate Calculator, download and open the Excel file (Microsoft Excel software must be installed on your computer in order to use the file). You can enter data into any yellow shaded box to compute seeding rates for cover crop plots.

Cover Crop Seeding Rate Calculator


Cover Crop Videos



Cover Crop Print Resources

Cover Crops in Iowa: A Quick Guide
An "infographic" for a quick overview

Cover Crops In Iowa: A Glossary
A quick-read of cover crop terms and their meanings

Cover Crops Seeding Rate Guide

Small Grain Cover Crops for Corn and Soybean (PDF)
Iowa State University Extension publication


Other Resources

Midwest Cover Crops Council website offers excellent resources for cover crops education as well as networking opportunities for cover crop users. 

Also on the Midwest Cover Crops Council website is the Cover Crop Decision ToolThis free on-line resource can help you decide which cover crop variety is most suitable for your farming conditions. The tool has two parts: one for field crops and one for vegetable growing.

Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture houses the Iowa Cover Crops Working Group page that lists several additional resources.

Blog by David Robison contains lots of posts about cover crops across the midwest. He is a founding member of the Midwest Cover Crop Council.

Practical Farmers of Iowa has a dedicated cover crops page on their website. They also maintain a Cover Crop Business Directory, which you can download as a PDF file.

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