Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced Thursday farmers participating in the state water quality cost share program who are intending to plant cover crops have until Thursday, Oct. 31, to get the cover crops planted and still qualify for assistance.

This extension only applies to state-funded programs and is only available for those species that are likely to establish well, specifically winter rye, winter triticale and winter wheat.

"Everything has been behind this year due to the extremely wet spring weather, so some farmers have been unable to get cover crops planted as timely has they had anticipated," Northey said. "Scientists from Iowa State have assured us there are still significant water quality benefits to planting certain cover crops and that is why we have extended the deadline until the end of the month."

The recommended cutoff date for seeding cover crops in Iowa previously was Oct. 15th. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has received guidance from Iowa State University that cover crops planted after this date still have the potential to provide substantial reduction in nutrient losses and soil erosion, so the Department extended the deadline until the end of the month.

Farmers who had been approved for cost-share assistance and are still unable to get cover crops seeded should contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District office.