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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s agriculture secretary is offering spring management tips for farmers using cover crops.

Cover crops are used to reduce erosion, protect water quality and improve soil health until row crops like corn and soybeans are planted in the spring.

State Ag Secretary Mike Naig says late winter conditions are causing challenges this spring to cover crops planted last fall. Naig says it’s important to allow the cover crop to grow as long as possible to maximize the benefits. He says that is typically easier for soybeans after winter cover crops because of the later planting date and less potential impact on soybeans.

More information and tips on cover crops in Iowa can be found online at www.cleanwateriowa.org/cover-crops , www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/content/cover-crop-resources or www.practicalfarmers.org/member-priorities/cover-crops/ .