Agriculture program conservation funds are available from the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District for a variety of conservation practices, including cover crops for winter cover on crop fields.
Opportunities exist for single-species cover crops such as small grains for either harvest or killing and also for multiple-species cover crops that incorporate forage or tillage radishes, legumes and other species to provide additional soil benefits. Payments range from $15 to $48 per acre depending on what is planted and when it is planted.
Planting by Oct. 10 pays higher, and pure stands of some rye cultivars also pay additional amounts. A nutrient management plan is typically required to be eligible and this further benefits the producer. The agronomic benefits of cover crops are well established, including scavenging of soil nutrients, especially nitrogen; fixing atmospheric nitrogen into the soil; improving soil tilth and organic matter; protecting the soil from erosion in the off season; and improving water infiltration into the soil. Knowing your purpose for growing a cover crop, targeting your species selection and management to achieve your purpose is key to attaining greater benefits.
Sign up and approval is required. Contact the District to get more details and enroll acreage for this year’s cover crops. The CSWCD has set aside part of its annual cost-share allocation from the state specifically to address cover crop requests. For more information, call 540-308-6301 or 540-825-8591.