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Cover Crops On Prevent Plant Acres
Rough conditions this spring delayed, and in some cases, prevented crop planting. However, as of September first, cover crops that were planted on prevent plant acres can be grazed, harvested as forage, or chopped as silage. The Risk Management Agency, or the RMA, moved up the date from November first because of the potential feed supply shortage due to this year’s weather. The cover crop may be the same crop prevented from planting and may still retain eligibility for a prevented planting payment, however it cannot be used for harvest as seed or grain.
Emerson Nafziger is an extension agronomist at the University of Illinois. He says there is no specific list of cover crop species allowed, so even corn seeded after the official late planting date can be considered a cover crop.
"With that change to September 1, now that can be basically managed as a silage crop and they can get pretty good yields from corn planted in mid-season or at least in July," says Nafziger. "The real questions are is it a cover crop or is it a silage crop? The rules don’t seem to be very clear that it has to be managed as a cover crop."
He says there is a concern with chopping it off because it can leave the soil unprotected.
"It’s important that we keep in mind that using cover crops at all on prevent planted acres is for the purpose of helping keep soil in place."