Cover Crop Demonstration

Click the link below to view the presentation given at the Alliance's June 27 cover crops field day by Sarah Carlson, Practical Farmers of Iowa Strategic Initiatives Director. 


The Rathbun Land and Water Alliance has added a cover crop demonstration component to their Rathbun Lake Protection activities.

Producers have planted cover crops at four demonstration sites located within the Rathbun Lake Watershed with cereal rye as this year's cover crop.

Cereal rye is one of the most versatile and commonly used cover crops and it provides field residue and forage.

Baseline data will soon be collected, with demonstration results to be posted to this page as they become available.

Look for signs that mark the demonstration sites.

Demonstration site maps and data

Smith Demonstration Site
Luedtke Demonstration Site
Batchelder Demonstration Site
McBroom Demonstration Site

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Cover Crop Survey Update
Gary Palmer of Corydon is the winner of the cover crop survey drawing. Thanks to all Rathbun Lake Watershed landowners who returned their survey. Brian DeMoss, (right) Rathbun Lake Watershed Coordinator works with landowners in the watershed and is the project lead on a cover crop demonstration taking place on five Lucas County farms. The multi-year demonstration is in addition to the water quality protection activities carried out by the Rathbun Land and Water Alliance. For more information, contact DeMoss at 641.774.2512.

Results of the cover crop survey are as follows:
115 of 651 surveys mailed to Rathbun Lake Watershed landowners were returned
Of the 115 surveys, 46,130 acres are in row crop
Of the 46,130 acres, 24,910 acres are farms that are owner operated - 54 percent owned and 46 percent rented
of the 45,130 acres of row crop, 3,502 acres are using cover crops
of the 3,502 acres using cover crops, 1,429 acres are being grazed
The survey results reveal a possible 2 percent increase in cover crops being planted this fall - 2018.

Survey respondents sited the following barriers and concerns to implementing cover crops on their farms:
45 percent - Cost of implementation
35 percent - Labor and time
24 percent - Equipment
22 percent - Knowledge
8 percent - Yield impact concern
3 percent - Landlord
17 percent - weather, planting in spring, tenant doesn't want to participate, no fencing. 

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