Cover Crop Research at the WIU Allison Organic Research and Demonstration Farm

Lots and lots of farmers are starting to use cover crops. It’s remarkable. I am glad to say that I have played a little role, but it’s exciting just to have been along for the ride. The timing of my arrival at WIU and the cover crop revolution is completely coincidence. You never know what your legacy is until down the road and I have been a participant in this cover crop revolution and I hope that down the line my students will look back and say I started using cover crops or the people who come to our field days will say, I got that critical piece of information or I got pushed over my hump of skepticism by having interaction with Dr. Gruver. I don’t know what that role is but I enjoy being a part of the wave, riding that wave. Right now we have a particularly… The weather has created two very different scenarios but both have been very promoting of cover crops. It was so dry last year that the crops didn’t grow very well in most places. So lots of nutrients were left in the soil and farmers harvested very early so they had this window to plant cover crops and they wanted they wanted to get cover crops there to capture those nutrients that the crops didn’t use. And then this spring it’s a different situation. We have farmers that are not getting there crops planted. So they’re actually doing what’s called prevent plant. They will get paid by crop insurance for not growing a crop. But they don’t want to just have field grow-up in weeds. It’s a very hot topic on internet forums where people are asking, what can I plant on my prevent plant acres. If you get paid for prevent plants then you can’t grow a harvested crop. You can’t harvest anything until after November 1. You can plant cover crops but your crop insurance agent needs to be on-board. They need to not drive by and see something planted and say, he’s in violation. Because obviously if you’re getting paid for not planting you need to play that game.

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