The NRCS has updated their cover crop termination guidelines for non-irrigated cropland for farmers looking to insure the following cash crop. The guidelines have divided the country into four zones based on primarily on rainfall and soil hydrology models to help achieve the conservation benefit of cover crops while minimizing risk of reduced yield of the following crop due to soil water use.
The majority of Iowa is in Zone 4, with western Iowa falling into Zone 3.
If your farm is located in Zone 3, then the guidelines require the cover crop to be terminated at or before the time of planting.
If you are located in the Zone 4 portion of the state you have up to five days after planting, but before crop emergence to terminate the cover crop.
Information on how the guidelines were created, additional considerations for cover crop termination timing, and frequently asked questions can be found here.
Be sure to share this information with your crop insurance agent when discussing 2014 policies!