Frequently Asked Questions

More details are available in the: Complete Manual for Growers.
And our Quick Guide for Growers.

FAQs:

Q: How much will CoverCress™ seed cost?
A: CoverCress™ seed will be provided at no cost to contracted farmers in the fall of 2022.
Q: What/where are the markets for CoverCress™ grain?
A: CoverCress will contract with farmers to raise the CoverCress grain crop. This contract will outline location and price to be received upon delivery. CoverCress has worked diligently to develop a market for whole grain chicken feed to scale a future transition to crush with products sold as feedstock for biofuel and animal feed markets.
Q: Where will our grain collection points be located?
A: CoverCress is developing partnerships with grain handlers to be at the ready for the first contracted growers in the fall of 2022. The grower's contract will outline the delivery location as well as trucking reimbursements.
Q: What are the agronomic and management considerations for growing a CoverCress crop?
A: Please see our growers guide for in-depth information on all aspects of growing CoverCress grain.
Q: What is the optimum planting window for the CoverCress crop?
A: For the launch area of central Illinois, the optimum planting window is from Labor Day to October 10th. Adequate rainfall, seasonal temperatures, and day length are critical to stand establishment. Stand establishment in the fall is critical for a timely harvest in the spring.
Q: How should I be thinking about the impact to my early-planted beans if I grow a CoverCress crop?
A: Consider growing this crop on a portion of your acres that would require planting beans a bit later as a hedge for some of your early-planted soybean acres.
Q: Can I plant corn after I harvest my CoverCress crop instead of soybeans?
A: Yes, if growing corn after your CoverCress crop fits well with the rotation and you are willing to plant corn later, this rotation is acceptable.
Q: What would be the advantages and disadvantages of replacing winter wheat with a CoverCress crop?
A: CoverCress harvest would be 2-3 weeks earlier than winter wheat. This would provide an advantage if double crop soybeans would be planted after your CoverCress harvest. Additionally, the nutrient requirements would be much less than that for winter wheat. A disadvantage would be the lack of straw value from CoverCress plants versus winter wheat.
Q: Is there any value to the residue after harvest?
A: No, there is very minimal residue remaining after CoverCress harvest. The residue following CoverCress harvest should be chopped and distributed evenly over the field for a good stand of the following crop to establish.
Q: How does growing CoverCress compare to winter canola?
A: CoverCress grain has similar characteristics to winter canola for oil quality and feed stock quality. An advantage to growing this crop is that it may provide an alternative crop option that requires minimal inputs for planting, fertilization, and early harvest for a second crop where winter canola has not been adopted.
Q: Are CoverCress plants considered legumes?
A: No, CoverCress plants are brassicas, so they are related to mustards.
Q: How big is a CoverCress seed?
A: A single CoverCress seed is extremely small and measures roughly 1 mm in diameter compared to soybean seed, which ranges from 5 to 11 mm.
Q: What is the seeding density of a CoverCress field?
A: It is recommended to plant CoverCress seed at 5-8 lbs./acre in lightly tilled soil.
Q: What happens if it looks like I do not have a good stand?
A: Our research to date indicates that an adequate stand of CoverCress requires a minimum of four plants per square foot to justify a spring nitrogen application when the plants are in the pre-bolting stage.
Q: How and when is a decision made NOT to take a CoverCress field to harvest?
A: We are currently researching imagery technologies that will assist with these decisions. But currently, if there is not sufficient stand establishment as of the pre-bolting stage in the spring, the crop would be terminated rather than harvested.
Q: Would the application of a desiccant help speed up crop maturation and harvest?
A: We are currently conducting research trials to determine if the application of a desiccant will significantly alter the quantity of oil and meal from the harvested grain. As we continue to study the crop, we may be able to establish a desiccation process as a best management practice to provide a timelier harvest window in the spring.
Q: Is the only nitrogen application that is needed the one in the spring?
A: Yes, CoverCress plants can utilize residual nitrogen in the soil carried over from the preceding crop. In the spring, CoverCress recommends an application of 40-50 lbs. of nitrogen per acre at or just prior to bolting, ideally when the soil conditions are appropriate for ground applications.
Q: What forms of nitrogen can I apply to my CoverCress crop?
A: The timing and rate of nitrogen application may be more critical versus the form. We recommend granular urea or ammonium sulfate in the spring versus liquid forms of nitrogen, such as UAN solutions, which may cause injury to the leaves or budding flowers.
Q: How do herbicides like 2,4-D, dicamba, and glyphosate impact CoverCress plants?
A: 2,4-D, dicamba, and glyphosate will kill CoverCress plants. Special care should be taken when applying these herbicides near a growing CoverCress field.
Q: Are there herbicides that could carryover that could impact my CoverCress crop?
A: Data also shows CoverCress plants are especially susceptible to HPPD-inhibiting herbicide carryover, and fields should be selected with this in mind. The mode of action in HPPD-inhibiting herbicides (Isoxazole, Pyrazolone, Triketone) has been shown to impact CoverCress plant development and would likely impact yield if damage is significant enough.
Q: Should I be worried about CoverCress volunteers affecting the following crop?
A: CoverCress volunteerism is significantly different than that of field pennycress due to the advances made via gene editing. In the event of off-season volunteers, the plants will not survive summer conditions and will be controlled with many herbicide management practices.
Q: Pennycress is listed as a restricted noxious weed in some states. Which states in your ultimate market have this issue, and how are you working to address it?
A: CoverCress is currently addressing the issue in states where pennycress is listed as a noxious weed. We are working diligently with the Department of Agriculture in multiple states to ensure the expansion of CoverCress in the future.
Q: What benefits does a CoverCress crop provide to the soil?
A: CoverCress will provide similar benefits as other cover crops, including improved soil tilth, nutrient capture, partial over-winter soil cover, and soil protection from spring erosion.
Q: How much carbon does one acre of CoverCress plants sequester on a numerical scale? What are the economic benefits of carbon sequestration for my operation?
A: Early estimates indicate about 1 ton per acre of carbon is sequestered from growing CoverCress. We are still learning about the carbon markets as this is a rapidly developing and changing topic.
Q: What agronomic support will CoverCress provide me as a grower?
A: CoverCress is developing a network of agronomists who will help provide local support for growers.
Q: I am currently out of your target area. When can I expect the chance to participate?
A: CoverCress' product development to this point is targeted to central Illinois and eastern Missouri. We are continuing to test and develop products that will allow us to expand beyond our target launch area to ensure each grower has success with our crop.

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