Buying CRP seed seems deceptively simple, but the truth is, you can’t just buy any seed mix. CRP has special requirements for the seed you use, and beyond that, not all CRP seed mixes available on the market are equal.
The quality of the seed you purchase will ultimately determine how successful your establishment is. Bad seed can leave you with a failed stand, and you’ll likely have to buy more seed to replant your project.
In order to achieve proper seed germination, you’ll want to make sure you purchase high-quality seed that qualifies for your CRP land. Here’s how you can do that.
Know Your Conservation Practice
Within CRP, there are a multitude of conservation practices (CPs). The CP that you’re enrolled in determines the focus of the land you’re establishing. Different CPs emphasize different areas of conservation.
For example, CP42 is for establishing pollinator habitat. When selecting CRP seed, you’ll need to make sure it’s approved for the specific CP that you’re enrolled in.
Confirm Local Ecotype or Variety
Seed is not only determined by your CP, but by the state that you’re enrolled in as well. CRP establishment relies on native vegetation that is of a local ecotype or variety. This means a particular plant originates from or is well suited for your geographical location, having evolved and adapted to the soil and climate conditions there.
It also means that the surrounding environment has adapted to that specific plant. Animals use it for food and shelter, soil is protected by it, etc. Selecting the proper variety ensures CRP vegetation serves its purpose of restoring soil health, protecting water supplies, and providing for local wildlife.
Understand Life Cycles
As you know, plants are categorized under three life cycles: annual, biennial, and perennial. This determines when they grow, when they blossom, when they seed, and how long they live.
While traditional farm crops are mostly annuals, CRP seeds are largely perennials. This allows them to regrow year after year with little maintenance needed on your behalf. There are some CRP plants that are biennials. These are typically self-seeding, freeing you from the responsibility of replanting them.
Avoid Noxious Weeds
Weeds are an inevitable problem for virtually any planting situation. In the case of CRP, uncontrolled weeds can cause a failure of establishment. It’s very important that the seed you purchase has been tested and processed for noxious weeds such as Palmer amaranth.
Select Multiple Colors and Bloom Periods for Pollinator Mixes
Promoting diversity is an important part of pollinator habitat establishment. This is done through strategic seed selection. You’ll need to cover the three different bloom periods: April – May, June – July, and August – October.
Your seed mix should have at least three different species for each bloom period. Additionally, you want to have at least three different colors featured in each bloom period if possible. Pollinators are attracted to specific colors depending on their species.
For example, birds are attracted to red. Bees, however, cannot see red, and therefore are drawn to other colors such as purple or blue.
Read the Seed Tags
Seed tags are much more than a simple receipt or proof of purchase. They are what verifies the contents and quality of the seed you’ve purchased. On a seed tag, you’ll find the seed mix’s origin, purity, germination rate, and more. Seed tags are also what lets you know that your seed is free from noxious weeds.
You’ll also need your seed tags for cost share reimbursement.
You’re Ready to Buy
Once you have a firm grasp on the information above, it’s time to buy your CRP seed mix. As we said before, it’s not just about purchasing the “correct” seed. You want to make sure that you are purchasing quality seed.
We can help with that.
At All Native Seed, our CRP seed mixes have been reprocessed for enhanced purity and higher germination rates. They have also been tested for Palmer amaranth and other noxious weeds. All of our seed mixes come with convenient, easy to read seed tags as well. We also keep a record of purchases and seed tags for our customers, should they need additional copies in the future.
With a seed mix from All Native Seed, you can trust that you’re getting the best CRP seed available.
To browse our personal seed mixes, click here. To get a quote for seed mixes developed by NRCS, click here. If you need any help in selecting your seed, don’t hesitate to contact us directly. And if you’d prefer to have a team of CRP professionals purchase and establish your CRP seed for you, contact our parent company FDCE.