By John Dobberstein, Senior Editor

Not every grower is ready to start planting green or seed cover crop cocktails immediately, so the Midwest Cover Crop Council (MCCC) has unveiled several basic “cover crop recipes” aimed at helping beginners with covers get off to a successful start.

MCCC received funding from the McKnight Foundation to develop the recipes, which are hosted on MCCC’s website. The council worked closely with Extension leaders in each state on creating the recipes.

“These publications are intended to provide a starting point for farmers who are new to growing cover crops,” says Anna Morrow, program manager for the council. “With experience, farmers may fine-tune the use of cover crops for their systems.”

Currently, recipes are available for Indiana, North Dakota, Iowa and Illinois, with additional states coming soon. For the Midwest the sheets focus on a corn-soybean rotation, but plans are in the works to expand to other rotations, such as corn silage.

North Dakota has a more detailed recipe because of the state’s more diverse cropping rotation.

Additionally, MCCC recorded a webinar sharing details in the Indiana recipe that are applicable to most of the eastern Corn Belt as long as growers check seeding rates and herbicides for their state.

The recipes are available under the “Getting Started” tab of the main menu on Morrow says the recipes are in a similar format each time and easy to use, as there’s a recipe in three of the four states for following corn and going to soybeans, and following soybeans going to corn.

“Which crop you’re following and which crop you’re planting into next makes a big difference on how you handle cover crops,” she says.

For example, the recipe for cover crops following corn and going to soybeans in Indiana talks primarily about cereal rye. It includes suggested seeding rates and information on when to best time planting. For farmers in Iowa, the recipe following corn is similar but geared to Iowa conditions, Morrow notes.

For corn following soybeans in Iowa, the recipe suggests starting with oats the first year. In both Indiana and Illinois, the recipe for corn after soybeans the first year includes oats and radishes, which winterkill and don’t require termination.