EDITOR’S NOTE: This press release has been updated from a version posted on April 14, 2021 to include a recording of Iowa Learning Farms’ webinar held at noon on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.
AMES, Iowa — Soil health and water quality benefits associated with organic farming was be the topic of the Iowa Learning Farms webinar at noon on Wednesday, April 21.
Dr. Kathleen Delate, professor in the departments of agronomy and horticulture at Iowa State University, shared research results that show greater soil and water quality benefits in organic systems with longer crop rotations, when compared to conventional corn-soybean rotations. Small grains and perennial legume species, like alfalfa, are integral to supporting greater soil microbial populations and aggregate stability. Certified organic production requires the use of slower-release forms of nitrogen, which are associated with less nitrate loading and improved water quality.
“Returns have been negative in conventional row crop farming in recent years—alternatives that consist of longer crop rotations with lower inputs and improved soil and water quality need to be explored,” said Dr. Delate, who is responsible for research, extension, and teaching in organic agriculture at Iowa State University. “Give organics a go. You might be surprised to see how your soil changes and how many more pollinators and beneficial insects show up on your farm!”
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
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