ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — When Chase Brown started selling cover crop seed eight years ago, he saw it as a small side-gig to supplement his farming operation near Decatur, Illinois.
Now, like many farmers, he’s happy to discover it is a growing industry worth investing in.
“I started selling cover crops in 2012 for extra vacation and beer money,” he admitted. “But it has blown into a substantial business. It has gone from guys throwing some cover seed out each year, mostly for government programs, to really thinking about it and planning. They’ve seen the benefits and attitudes are changing.”
This year, cover crop seed demand for Brown Seed Sales was off the charts. “This year, a switch just flipped,” he said. A lot of factors might be at play: The stagnant spring and early summer commodity prices pushed growers to trim chemical costs, an August derecho flattened some Corn Belt fields, and in the midst of a growing herbicide-resistant weed epidemic, dicamba herbicides were abruptly pulled off the market in June.