Planting Cover Crops By Air
Over the next few days you may see and hear an unusual aerial display in Rice County. Members of the Bridgewater-Forest Cover Croppers will be using a special crop dusting airplane to plant cover crops. This high performance plane can apply a mixture of winter rye, radishes and annual ryegrass to a growing crop. The plane will fly 10 to 50 feet above the crop and seed a 60 foot wide strip with each pass.
The cover crop seed will lay on the soil surface until it rains. The cover crop will germinate and begin to grow. It will remain very small until the crop is harvested. When full sunlight is available the cover crop will then grow rapidly protecting the soil later this fall, winter and next spring until another corn or soybean crop is planted.
The Bridgewater-Forest Cover Croppers came together in 2012 to promote farming practices that improve soil stewardship. conservation and health. The groundwork was laid by now retired NRCS District Conservationist Tom Coffman. Steve Pahs District manager for the Rice County SWCD was also involved in the early meetings and continues to provide technical assistance.