Ag News -
Thursday, 08 September 2011 14:32
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Radishes and turnips are increasingly being planted as cover crops in Kansas. However, there's some confusion about whether these crops can be planted on cropland, since they are technically vegetables, said DeAnn Presley, K-State Research and Extension soil management specialist.
"The 2008 Farm Bill says that farmers have the freedom to plant whatever crops they choose on their base acres except for fruits and vegetables. However, some producers might have acres on their farms that are not fully
based, so they could grow radishes and turnips on (up to) that number of acres," Presley said.
"Also, if the crop is grown on the base acres strictly as a cover crop and it is not the first crop of the year, and it is not mechanically harvested or grazed, that is acceptable," she added.
So if producers plant radishes and turnips after they harvest wheat, and plan to destroy those crops with herbicide or let the frost kill them, they would be in compliance, she said.
If radishes or turnips are planted and are going to be grazed, producers will need to pay a measurement service fee to have someone from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office come out and look at the field to make sure that the vegetables are not being harvested as produce.
"In Riley County, for example, the fee is typically around $54, but the exact amount depends on how far your farm is from the local FSA office. And this same rule applies if the radishes and turnips are the first crop of the year on your base acres," Presley said.
Producers are required to certify all cropland, and for some USDA programs all farmland, at the FSA office on an annual basis, Presley reminded.
"The bottom line is that it is possible to plant radishes and turnips on cropland, but producers should discuss this with their local USDA-FSA office first. They will work with you to determine your options. The FSA realizes that cover crops have a tremendous value in terms of improving soil quality and protecting natural resources, so they are very willing to work with producers who want to plant radishes and turnips as a cover crop or for grazing," the K-State soil scientist concluded.