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 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 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 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
Small Grain Cover Crops for Corn and Soybean (PDF)
Iowa State University Extension publication
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 Tool. This 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 plantcovercrops.com contains lots of posts about cover crops across the midwest. He is a founding member of the Midwest Cover Crop Council.
Iowa Learning Farms Menu
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How cover crops pay off in a continuous no-tlll system
Don't let lingering herbicides hamper cover crop success
Utilizing cover crops as high quality feed
Cover crop tools: Equipment for conservation farming
Cover Crop: Kill it or keep it?
University study using cover crops to lure deer from livestock feed
Cover crops provide immediate soil benefits for no-tiller
Cover crops add to farm sustainability
Cover crop success depends on goals
Iowa Farmer Today
Waukee farmer reflects on first-time use of cover crops
Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network
Cover Crops are reducing nutrient losses, improving soil tilth for Wright County farmers
Timing critical to cover crop seeding
Iowa Farmer Today
12 Ways to Boost Cover Crop Performance
Farm Futures magazine