AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms will host a cover crop and no-till field day Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 12 noon to 2 p.m. at the Caviness Farm near Greenfield. The free event is open to farmers and landowners and includes a complimentary meal.
Cover crops offer many benefits to farmers and landowners including reduced soil erosion, weed suppression potential, reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, and increased organic matter in the soil. When paired with no-tillage additional benefits include increased water infiltration and reduced erosion during heavy rain events. This field day aims to equip attendees with best management practices for establishing and managing cover crops to maintain yields during the transition to a higher residue system of no-tillage and cover crops.
Iowa Learning Farms farmer partner Randy Caviness purchased his first no-till planter in 1985 and was admittedly skeptical that it would work. However, he stuck with it and his soil test results have shown increases in soil organic matter and soil health.
“Many people talk about building up their soil, but then they don’t do anything about it. No-till actually does something about it. The more you leave the soil alone, the better it does. Some people think that if they till every four or five years, that they will get the benefits of no-till. No-till should be called never-till,” noted Caviness.
When asked about the economics of no-till, Caviness responded, “We want to show that you can be profitable and you can save the soil. Quality soil has got to be the bottom line. People need to think about their soil and do a better job for future generations. You can’t just think or say that you are doing a better job, you need to actually do a better job.”
Liz Ripley, Iowa Learning Farms conservation and cover crop outreach specialist, will share results from on-farm cover crop demonstration trials and resources available to help farmers and landowners make a successful transition to a cover crop and no-till system. Iowa NRCS staff Hillary Olson, State Soil Health Specialist, and Ruth Blomquist, SW Iowa Soil Health Specialist, will lead attendees through soil health demonstration and discussion opportunities for technical and financial assistance.
The field day will be held at the Caviness Farm, 2476 260th Street, Greenfield, IA 50849 and will be held rain or shine.
The event is free and open to farmers and landowners, though we require reservations to ensure adequate space and food. For reasonable accommodations and to RSVP please contact Liz Ripley at 515-294-5429 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Attendees will be entered in a drawing for ISU Prairie Strips honey.
Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit www.iowalearningfarms.org.
About Iowa Learning Farms
Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation by encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable. Partners of Iowa Learning Farms include theIowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources, EPASection 319 Grant Program and GROWMARK, Inc.
— Iowa Learning Farms