AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service will host a cover crop and soil health field day Wednesday, March 23 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the Campbell Farm near Grand Mound. The free event is open to farmers and landowners and includes a complimentary meal.
Cover crops continue to gain popularity in Iowa due to their many benefits including reduced soil erosion, weed suppression potential, reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, and increased organic matter in 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 a good termination plan and best management practices to maintain yields during the transition to a higher residue system of no-tillage and cover crops.
The field day will include a farmer panel featuring Dennis Campbell of Clinton County and Mike Paustian of Scott County, who are using cover crops and no-till in their farming. Jason Steele, NRCS area resource soil scientist, will highlight how cover crops and no-tillage work together to improve soil health for long-term profitability.
Virgil Schmitt, field agronomist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will discuss cover crop and nutrient best management practices. Liz Ripley, Iowa Learning Farms conservation and cover crop outreach specialist, will then share results from cover crop projects examining species selection, water quality implications, and soil health indicators such as earthworms.
Weather permitting, there will be a short tour of cover crops nearby following the program.
The field day will be held in a heated shop at the Campbell Farm, 2260 U.S. Route 30, Grand Mound. From Grand Mound, head west on Route 30 for 0.5 miles. The farm is located on the north side of the road and field day signs will mark the driveway to enter.
The event is free and open to farmers and landowners, though reservations are required to ensure adequate space and food. For reasonable accommodations and to RSVP please contact Liz Ripley at 515-294-5429 or email@example.com. Attendees will be entered in a drawing for Iowa State University 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.
— Iowa State University Extension and Outreach