Unfortunately, acceptable methods for cover crop termination are not defined in the regulations, but were described by RMA and NRCS in a Jan. 23 webinar to include any method that causes cover crop growth to completely stop. This can include natural winterkill, herbicides or tillage. Termination by harvest for seed or grain is not allowed because it is considered to be double cropping. Termination by crimping, mowing or harvest for hay and haylage is acceptable as long as it is done at a sufficiently mature stage that regrowth does not occur. The June 2013 regulation specifically states that grazing does not qualify as termination, but in the January webinar, RMA seemed to understand that grazing can also lead to cessation of growth in a mature annual cover crop. In the absence of a published rule allowing grazing as a termination method, any producer planning to use grazing as a termination method should discuss the situation first with their crop insurance agent and be prepared to document and prove that the cover crop did not regrow after grazing. Agents will also be aware of any impending changes to the regulations as a result of the recently passed farm bill.
Be mindful when harvest, grazing cover crops
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