When it comes to establishing CRP, the first two years are critical. Transitioning from farmland to native plants and natural habitat is a delicate process. First, the land must be cleared and prepared. Once it’s ready for planting, special equipment is utilized to plant the CRP seed mixes.
From there, the primary goal is to prevent weeds and protect the germinating seed. Part of weed control includes herbicide application before or at time of planting, but post plant mowing is equally important.
Mowing your CRP land serves multiple purposes. It controls weeds and keeps them from seeding, while also ensuring your CRP seed receives the heat and moisture it needs to germinate. The sun needs to be able to get to the ground to warm it up. When the weeds grow too tall, a canopy forms.
When Can I Mow My CRP Land?
Establishing CRP requires patience up front. Within the first year, it can be difficult to see progress as the seed establishes a root system. It may take two full growing seasons before things start to look as they should. Still, mowing is important during these first two years.
Once plants and weeds reach between 2.5 and 3 feet tall, they should be mowed down to 12 inches. The amount of time this takes to happen can vary depending on a number of factors, including the weather, soil conditions, seed mixes, herbicide application, and more.
Overall, you can expect to mow about 2 or 3 times in the first year. By year three, your CRP should be properly established, and you can switch to spot mowing as needed.
Make sure to check and see if there are mowing restrictions in your area. In Iowa, for example, mowing is not allowed during primary nesting season without special written permission. This does not apply to those in their first two years of CRP seeding, however.
It’s also important to know what are weeds and what aren’t. Many CRP seed mixes contain plants like milkweed which were once considered weed but are now seen as valuable to the habitat.
The rules and regulations of CRP can be difficult to keep up with. That’s why it’s very beneficial to have a professional team working with you.
Making CRP Simpler
With FDCE, you don’t have to worry about questions like “how do I submit cost share reports” or “where can I buy CRP seed mixes”. Our turn-key solutions handle the process for you from start to finish. We provide the seed, equipment, and reporting services needed to successfully establish CRP on your property. In addition, you can consult FDCE staff on mowing questions and timing.
While you will be responsible for mowing, our professional guidance will help you know when and how to go about it. With a 97% success rate in CRP establishment, our experience speaks for itself. Contact us today.