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Aerial applicators hustle as Iowa cover crop acreage soars

Like a lot of Iowa farmers, Humboldt farmer Doug Adams hustled this year to get another crop planted, a cover crop, just before his corn and soybeans were ready for harvest. And like many farmers, he brought in air power to get the job done.

With the harvest workload coming on, finding the time to apply a cover crop before the cash crop is harvested is a challenge. Aerial applications of cover crops are keeping Iowa pilots like Ralph Storm of Webster City very busy.

"I apply mostly a combination of cereal rye, radish and rye grasses," said Storm. Storm’s plane holds up to 1,600 pounds of seed and covers about 25 acres per flight. "It averages out to about 60 pounds to an acre."

Adams, a Humboldt County Farm Bureau member, is planting cover crops for the second year, and he’s doubled the acreage from last year.

"Around here, it’s really new," said Adams, who farms south of Humboldt. "I think it’s really catching...




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