Guidance When Using Corn As A Cover Crop

Dr. Joe Lauer, UW-Madison Agronomy and Extension State Corn Specialist

This year traditional cover crop seed is hard to find. However, corn and soybean can be considered a cover crop (click here and here). Corn is deep-rooted and by the end of the end of the growing season can produce significant residue even when planted in July. The first thing you must do, however, is talk to your crop insurance agent and make no decisions without their input.

“Farmers taking the full prevented plant indemnity should note that they cannot ever harvest the cover crop for grain or seed. RMA rules allow, only after September 1, grazing and harvest as hay (for bedding or feed) and now for silage, haylage or baleage. If a farmer wants to harvest it as grain or seed, then they should declare it as an alternative crop and only collected the partial (35%) prevented plant indemnity.”  — Paul Mitchell, UW Ag Economist

The end of the late planting period is set by USDA-RMA (Risk Management Agency) and is posted for most of Wisconsin as June 25 for corn grain and June 30 for corn silage. A farmer is not allowed to take the full prevented plant indemnity, using the same crop as a cover crop before these dates. If planted before these dates, the farmer should report it as late planted with a reduced guarantee. Continue Reading.

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