As plans are made to enroll new land into CRP, several things need to be considered to insure a good experience for all parties involved. One question to ask yourself is what is the condition of the ground right now? Are there a lot of weeds present?
If so, then some time should be spent getting the ground prepared before it is planted to perennial grass and/or forbs. It is much easier to control weeds before the CRP is planted than afterwards. Additional preparation time may be needed if the ground has a long weed history and a heavy weed seed bank in the soil. Heavy weed pressure may also limit plant selection so the weeds can be controlled.
Herbicide Resistance Info
Buying clean seed is also very important to insure that no new weeds are being introduced, thus creating a new problem. Read the seed tag closely to see what is present in the bag. Some tags may list a percentage of other weed seed. If weed seed is identified, you may want to request additional analysis.
Common annual weeds that you already have may not pose a big problem, but if not, you may want to consider another seed source.
Since its initial identification in 2014, most people have heard of palmer amaranth which is an amaranth species in the same family as all other pigweeds and waterhemp species. Most seed testing labs are unable to tell the difference between the different amaranth species.
The SDSU seed testing lab cannot tell you specifically if Palmer amaranth is present, however it can tell you if there is amaranth species present in the seed source. Send a one pound sample and request the noxious weed test. The cost of this test is around 20 dollars.
This will help you determine whether amaranth species are present or not in you seed source. It also will let you know that no noxious weeds are present. If amaranth species are present you may want to consider another seed source.
The Bottom Line
Having a clean weed-free seed-bed, planting clean seed, and controlling weeds following establishment are good practices implement to have a good CRP experience. CRP at a minimum, is a 10 year commitment and may be longer if re-enrollment opportunities continue to be available. Do it right the first time and it will be good for everyone.