Cover Crops are becoming a widely used soil health strategy and Recon Helicopters is equipped to help you apply cover crops efficiently, accurately, and economically. With 8 years of experience in helicopter application of fungicides, insecticides and cover crops, we are able to work with farmers of all sizes and apply products to areas that are not appropriate for fixed wing aircraft. Our pilots have a strong commitment to safety and accurate delivery of agricultural services, and can help you plan your cover crop applications in a way that fits your farm’s needs, as well as advising on cost-share funding sources when applicable.
What are the specifics?
The advantage of aerial application is that we can apply to standing crops and lengthen the time for your cover crop to establish. Also, field conditions don’t determine when we can apply! A helicopter can apply more accurately to smaller fields and closer to residential areas than fixed wing aircraft.
Our helicopters can carry approximately 500 lbs of cover crop seed per trip over a field, which can cover between 5 and 15 acres at a time, depending on your application rate. If your cover crops are being funded by a cost-share partner like the NRCS EQIP funding, you will need to confirm your application rate with your local USDA NRCS official first.
The helicopter has a 40-50 foot spreading width, and each pass is overlapped to ensure solid coverage. Accurate field maps are submitted to the pilot in advance, along with proper take off points that provide adequate space without obstructions for 100 yards into the wind. Spreading is done on days with wind speeds below 12-15 miles per hour.
Farmers can provide the seed and bin run seed is acceptable. The seed does not need to be clean, but the cleaner it is, the better the density of application with each pass. Multiple species can be used as long as the seed is large enough to project well and spread evenly. Cereal rye, winter wheat, radish, vetch, oats and barley can all be used.
Cost for application ranges from $20 for 30lbs per acre seeing up to $33 for 90lbs per acre seeding. Cost share dollars range from $35 to $50 per acre in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, so it is worth discussing this with your local USDA office. Deadlines in Wisconsin are February 28th, 2020 and June 5th, 2020, with applications approved based on scoring and available funds.
Capture the benefits of cover crops for soil health, soil quality, and long term profitably. Talk to our team if you would like more information on how we can help you develop your cover crop plan.
Most seed suppliers can provide a tending cart. We can use almost any seed tending cart to load our bucket with minor modification. Auger or belt fed doesn’t matter but the faster the better.
We also have a loading bag that allows us to load form boxes. The customer will need to supply the lifting equipment, ie a skid steer or telehandler.
East Troy, WI
Copyright © 2020 Recon Helicopters - All Rights Reserved.