To get the maximum benefit from cover crops, they need to become part of your crop rotation, an integral part of your cropping system.

Once you make your choices, it is important to purchase seed. I talked to a farmer who raises cover crop seed and he said his supplies dwindle rapidly following wheat harvest.

So, now is the time to purchase seed. I’ve seen it time and again where farmers delay, and then seed isn’t available or prices increase.

If you plan to seed winter annual cover crops after soybean or corn harvest, remember they will be harvested in July or August, so it doesn’t hurt to contract wheat, oats or cereal rye now as well. Over the past few seasons, cereal rye seed has been in high demand, so plan and purchase early.

Like many things, the key is to make a plan. Decide where the cover crops will fit in the rotation and be ready for the planting opportunity when it comes. For many successful cover crop users, this means keeping a spreader or drill full of the cover crop seed as the main crop is harvested.

Being ready to plant the cover crop makes it easier to get the job done in a timely fashion.