Thanks to farmers’ photos posted on social media, we’re seeing clear signs that spring has sprung in rural Iowa.
I’m seeing photos from farmers of seed corn being delivered in bags or boxes. Of course, seed dealers are practicing social distancing and have had to forgo the usual face-to-face visits with their farmer customers. But the seeds are ready, and if the weather holds, they’ll soon be in the ground.
Calving photos are also popping up on my feed. In my mind, there’s nothing that shouts spring better than the sight of a newborn calf testing out its legs in an Iowa pasture.
These days, photos of cover crops greening also signal spring. Cover crops are a key tool for Iowa farmers taking on the challenge of improving water quality through the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, and more acres are being planted.
An estimate of cover crop acreage by the Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council shows that more than 2 million acres of cover crops were planted around the state in the fall of 2018, an increase of 26% from the prior year. The group is now gathering information for its 2019 estimate.
For me, and I’m sure many others, these social media posts are a clear reminder that farmers are still hard at work through the COVID-19 crisis, planting crops, caring for animals and taking steps to improve water quality.