End Rows for Dec. 3, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mid-contract management for CRP

If you have a CRP contract then you have probably heard of Mid-contract management (MCM). Mid-contract management is a required practice on newer CRP signups that must be performed one time on each contract acre during contract years three through six. These practices will be applied to approximately one-third to one-half of the contract acreage each year depending on certain guidelines. It was established into CRP as a way to keep the plants in the field wildlife friendly and slow the spread of woody plants and sprouts. You will also receive cost-share to perform these practices.

There are some CRP practices that do not need MCM but you will need to contact the Farm Service Agency in order to be sure. Examples would be if you are in CP8A grassed waterway, CP23 or 23 A which are developed for woodland ecosystems or in practices CP21, 29 or 30 which total less than five acres in the contract.

These are some general guidelines and contacting Farm Service Agency should always be done before any type of management practices is performed.

Strip disking

This provides open habitat and promotes annual seed-producing plants. Disked strips should be rotated with undisked strips across the field on the contour. It should be two to four inches deep and preferably around 30-70 percent bare ground should be showing. These strips can be a maximum of 75 feet wide. The best time to disk is from October 1 through March 30.

Prescribed burning

Burning removes heavy thatch and encourages the growth of wildflowers, legumes and seed-producing plants. A prescribed burn plan is encouraged and should be written well in advance of any burns that will be conducted. If you have attended one of the Missouri Deptment of Conservation's burn workshops, you can contact your local Farm Service Agency for assistance or there are contractors that will perform this service as well.

Burn any cool season grasses, brome, orchard grass, timothy and fescue, from March 15 through April 30 and native warm season grass, switchgrass, indian grass, big bluestem and little bluestem from July 16 through March 15.

Chemical Application

An application of chemical can temporarily set back the growth of one grass species to allow for the growth of wildflowers, forbs and legume species to increase the stand's diversity. Chemical rates for herbicides should be consistent with the label of the product for temporarily setting back the growth of the plants or suppression and not killing them.

For cool season grasses spraying from Oct. 1 through Dec. 1 will get the best results, but you can also spray from March 15 through April 30. Native warm season grasses can be sprayed from July 16 through Sept. 15. An example of a grass selective herbicide that won't affect your legumes or wildflowers would be chemicals that contain the active ingredient sethoxydim or clethodim. Always get information on the herbicide like haying and grazing restrictions in case you hay or graze your CRP.

Legume and wildflower interseeding

Interseeding legumes is an optional MCM practice that can be used only in conjunction with one of the other listed practices. Interseeding of non-native legumes can be completed any time from Dec. 1 through May 31. Examples of legumes to plant would be red or white clover, alfalfa, or common lespedeza.

Native wildflowers should be interseeded from Nov. 16 to March 15. Examples of flowers to plant would be black-eyed susan, greyheaded coneflower, blazing star or coreopsis.

If you have any questions or would like planning assistance on your Mid-contract management you can contact Seth Moore, private lands conservationist at 660-886-7447 ext. 310 or by email at seth.moore@mdc.mo.gov.