JEFFERSON, Iowa — Converting some crop acres to organic production can be a way for farmers to diversify their operations and earn a higher premium on the grain. But the switch comes with a learning curve, especially when it comes to weed control.
“Weed control is the most difficult and scary prospect of organic row crop farming,” says Scott Shriver of Shriver Farms, LLC near Jefferson.
Shriver Farms is a 2,000-acre organic farming operation that includes 1,500 acres of organic corn and soybeans, with the remainder in small grains and alfalfa. Over the years, Scott and his family have collected numerous tools and tried different practices to battle weeds in their organic row crops.
Scott will share his experience at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day he is hosting on Tuesday, Aug. 7, from 5-8 p.m., near Jefferson (1276 270th St., about 5.5 miles southwest of town). The event – “Weed Control for Organic Row Crops” – is free to attend, and will include dinner. RSVPs are appreciated for the meal to Debra Boekholder, firstname.lastname@example.org or (515) 232-5661, by Friday, Aug. 3.
The field day is sponsored by Albert Lea Seed, Iowa Farmers Union, Organic Crop Improvement Association’s Chapter 1 of Iowa, Pipeline Foods and SunOpta.
Guests will hear about the pros and cons of the various equipment the Shrivers use for weed control, including hoes, harrows, cultivators and flamers. Scott will also review the practice and equipment for no-till planting of soybeans into cereal rye to achieve a cover crop mulch.
“We will explore many different methods of conquering weedy fields,” Scott says. “I hope field day attendees will learn that there are many different ways to approach weed control, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.”
Directions from Jefferson: Take IA Hwy 4 south for 2 miles to 270th Street and turn right (west). In 1.75 miles, the farm will be on the right (north) side of the road.
From the junction of IA Hwy 4 and IA Hwy 141: Take IA Hwy 4 north for 8.25 miles to 270th Street and turn left (west). In 1.75 miles, the farm will be on the right (north) side of the road.
Practical Farmers’ 2018 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Natural & Organic Meats; Blue River Organic Seed; Cascadian Farms; Center for Rural Affairs; Farm Credit Services of America; Gandy Cover Crop Seeders; Grain Millers, Inc.; Green Cover Seed; Green Thumb Commodities; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); ISU Extension and Outreach; La Crosse Forage and Turf Seed; MOSA Organic Certification; Natural Resources Defense Council; Organic Valley / Organic Prairie; PepsiCo; Pipeline Foods; Premier 1 Supplies; Sunrise Foods International; The DeLong Company; The Fertrell Company; The Scoular Company; Unilever; University of Iowa College of Public Health (I-CASH); USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; and Welter Seed & Honey Co.
— Practical Farmers of Iowa
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