*Updated 2/1/2021 to reflect current open enrollment dates.
In 2020, the USDA announced that over 3.4 million acres across the US have been accepted into the general Conservation Reserve Program signup. Signup for general CRP is open now until February 12, 2021. If you’re a successful applicants, there are a few steps you can take now to ensure a more successful and straightforward process prior to the seed being planted.
Consider your seedbed preparation.
When seeding your CRP acres, you want to ensure that you have a smooth, clean, firm seedbed. In most cases, following the harvesting of your crop, there’s no need to work the ground. Harvested, unworked soybean stubble is the most favorable seedbed to plant into. The stubble will ensure shallow, uniform seed placement.
Be mindful of chemicals.
Ahead of planting native grasses and forbs, it’s essential to avoid chemical use that will have an extended residual holdover. Certain chemicals can potentially harm the establishment of future seedlings, such as broadleaves. We recommend consulting your chemical specialist for questions on specific products and applications, and how they can affect your CRP stand.
Consider seeding techniques.
Now is the time to consider how you will be seeding your acres. Many conservation districts offer seeding as a service or will be able to connect you with independent contractors. We recommend drilling your seed where possible, to ensure uniform seeding depth. If you are faced with locations that are difficult to get to with a drill, broadcasting seed will work, but may require adjusted seeding rates.
The more time you allow for planning, you will have more opportunities to make informed decisions, resulting in a smooth and seamless process. All of this leads to a successful establishment.