EDITOR’S NOTE: This press release has been updated from a version published on April 28th to include a recording of the webinar.
AMES, Iowa — Succeeding with small grain, soybean relay intercropping in Iowa was the topic of the Iowa Learning Farms webinar at noon on Wednesday, May 5.
Small grain, soybean relay intercropping is the next step after using small grains for cover crops. Mark Licht, assistant professor and extension cropping systems specialist at Iowa State University, explains this practice and its benefits. Relay intercropping is a way to extend active plant growth after corn and before soybean to achieve soil health and nutrient loss reduction benefits similar to soybean. Growth of the small grain crop is extended through seed production to also provide economic value, which is a missed opportunity when small grains are used solely as a cover crop.
Small grain seed production can be used for livestock feed rations and niche food markets. While soybean and wheat production considered individually may be slightly lower compared to optimized sole crop production, a relay intercropping system results in greater land use equivalency.
“Relay intercropping is a system that has potential to be used across Iowa in an effort to diversify and provide resiliency to cropping systems,” said Licht. “While relay intercropping can be more risky, using a relay intercropping system can diversify farm income while providing soil health and nutrient loss reduction benefits.”
Licht’s research focuses on corn and soybean production systems and ways to incorporate conservation practices into those systems.
Archived webinars are available at https://www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/webinars.
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 the Iowa 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 (USEPA section 319) and GROWMARK, Inc.
— Iowa Learning Farms
For more news from Iowa, click here.