This spring has had more challenges to farmers than most anyone can remember. Winter kill in alfalfa has left many fields bare. In addition, the cold wet spring and seemingly constant rain has prevented corn and soybean plantings on many fields, leaving them without any plant roots or crop canopy to protect the soil from erosion.
Farmers are evaluating their options and many are considering a "prevented planting" option of their crop insurance. If they choose this option, we strongly encourage them to plant some type of cover crop to protect their soil.
Cover crops are normally inexpensive to plant and have tremendous benefits. They cover the soil which reduces wind and water erosion. They tie up nutrients from leaching away, and some even "capture" nitrogen from the air and store it in the soil. They build soil quality, maintain soil biological activity, suppress weeds, and can provide pollinator and wildlife habitat. Late in the fall (check with your crop insurance agent, but normally November 1), cover crops can be grazed or hayed.
Example cover crops include: sorghum sudangrass, oats, winter wheat, annual ryegrass, alfalfa, tillage radish, clover, and may more!
Prevented planting is a failure to plant an insured crop with the proper equipment by the final planting date designated in the insurance policy's actuarial documents or during the late planting period, if applicable, due to an insured cause of loss that is general to the surrounding area and that prevents other producers from planting acreage with similar characteristics.
Goodhue County Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors