Cover Crop Incentives
The FLC has recommended that a no-cost cover crop program be offered in Fall 2018 for strategic fields in the watershed that cover critical areas and provide the greatest benefits to local waters. Many farmers are signed up for cover crops this fall. Funds are limited so sign up soon. To find out if your field is eligible, contact Diann Korbel at the Scott SWCD at 952-492-5416.
Note that cover crops incentives are also available through the SWCD. To receive updates on the 2018 FLC initiatives, please email Maggie at email@example.com.
Come to the FREE Rice County No-Till and Cover Crop Tour on August 24th to learn more about cover crops! The workshop begins at the Ludwig Farm at 1355 90th St. E, in Northfield is hosted by the Rice SWCD. Local farmers Ludwig, Becker and Little will speak about their experiences with no-till, fall aerial cover crop seeding, weed suppression, cover crop mixes, erosion control, economics, and their local farmer network. A free picnic lunch will follow the tour. RSVP to Alex Romano at 507-523-3366.
As recommended by the Farmer-Led Council (FLC), the Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District (PLSLWD) completed a Cover Crop Reverse Auction in April of 2017. Through this incentive, three bids were accepted and 118 acres of cover crops were installed on new fields in the watershed in 2017.
What are Cover Crops?
Cover crops are quick-growing crops, such as winter rye, radishes, turnips, rape seed, cereal rye and clovers, which are planted during or between periods of regular crop production. Cover crops can help increase productivity and profitability, and help improve soil health and water quality in the watershed.
Why Cover Crops?
Benefits to Farmers:
- Keeps soil on the field by helping prevent soil erosion from wind and water
- Builds soil organic matter
- Reduces soil compaction
- Suppresses weeds & attracts beneficial insects
- Provides nitrogen to the following cash crop
- Helps retain moisture
- Creates wildlife habitat for hunting and wildlife observation
- Produces overwinter forage for livestock
How Can I Learn More?
The Watershed District partners with Scott Soil & Water Conservation District to help with the Farmer-Led Council incentives. Please contact Scott Schneider to learn more about successful cover crops in Scott County and how you can take advantage of financial incentives available:
Further Reading & Resources:
- Talking Cover Crops with Steve Trnka (local farmer with cover crops) – Rice Soil and Water Conservation District
- Managing Manure Nitrogen with a Cover Crop – U of M Extension
- Tips for Interseeding Cover Crops on Your Farm – La Crosse Seed
- To Feed the World Sustainably, Repair the Soil – Scientific American
The Scott SWCD planted a cover crop test plot in Belle Plaine as part of a series of cover crop test trials to experiment with cover crops and techniques that work well in Scott County. To learn more check out this great article about the project: Cover Crop Test Plots Planted in Scott County.