Practical Farmers of Iowa and Iowa Learning Farms have formed a cover crop management group with 12 farmer cooperators across the state demonstrating various types of cover crops and growing techniques. Here's a quick summary of information on these upcoming cover crop field days PFI and ILF are holding at different Iowa locations this spring. Anyone interested in cover crops is welcome to attend.
March 27 at Malcom, Iowa: ILF and PFI will co-sponsor a cover crop field day at the Joe Kriegel farm near the town of Malcom in east central Iowa on Tuesday, March 27, starting at 11 a.m. The field day will begin with a cover crop management discussion followed by a complimentary lunch catered by Dayton Meat Products. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
The cover crop management discussion will include yield response of corn and soybeans following fall-seeded rye and other cereal grains, planter set-up for planting into cover crop residue, and soil quality improvements related to cover crop use. Attendees will be able to discuss cover crop issues with Joe Kriegel and Sarah Carlson with Practical Farmers of Iowa as well as local Natural Resources Conservation Service staff. Also Mark Kennett from Kennett Ag Services will discuss logistics for farmers and pilots to work together when looking to aerial seed a cover crop on a field.
The field day site is at 1243 440th Ave., Malcom, Iowa. From I-80, take exit 191 south on Highway 63 for 2.5 miles, then east on 440th Ave. 0.4 miles to grain bins on north side of road. From Montezuma, the site is 5 miles north on Highway 63 to 440th Ave.
Also series of cover crop field days at five ISU research farms across Iowa
Iowa Learning Farms and Practical Farmers of Iowa are also hosting a series of cover crop management field days at the five Iowa State University Research and Demonstration Farms across the state between March 28 and April 5, 2012.
The field days will feature winter-hardy cereal rye cover crop plots drilled after corn and soybean harvests last fall. Events include a complimentary lunch for attendees. At each field day USDA Ag Research Service research agronomist Tom Kaspar will discuss best management practices to add cover crops into soybean or continuous corn rotations; additionally local farmers will share their cover crop management experiences.
Incorporating cover crops into a corn-soybean rotation may improve yields, based on 2009-2011 results of ongoing ILF/PFI winter rye cover crop demonstrations with 10 Iowa farmer partners. Cover crops such as cereal rye, oats or clover help to build soil organic matter and leave soil surface covered when there are no cash crops growing.
The cover crop field days schedule for the ISU research farms is:
March 28, central Iowa: ISU Ag and Natural Resources Extension FEEL (Field Extension & Education Lab) site, just west of Ames, located in Boone County, starts at 10:30 a.m., then a noon lunch. Directions are one mile south of Highway 30 on U Ave (south of United Community School) and one-half mile west on 240th street.
March 29, northwest Iowa: ISU Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm, O'Brien County, starts at 10:30 a.m., then a noon lunch. Directions: Farm is located at 6320 500th St., Sutherland. That's 11 miles north of Cherokee on Highway 59 and one-quarter mile east on County Road B62.
April 3, northeast Iowa: ISU Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm, Floyd County, starts 10:30 a.m., then noon lunch. Farm is located at 3321 290th St., Nashua. Go 1.2 miles west of Nashua on Highway B60. After taking the Nashua exit off Highway 218/27, go one mile south on Windfall Ave. (gravel) and 0.2 miles east on 290th Street.
April 4, southeast Iowa: ISU Southeast Research and Demo Farm, Washington County. Begins with noon lunch, then the program starts at 1 p.m. Farm is located at 3115 Louisa-Washington Road, Crawfordsville. Go 1.75 miles south and two miles east of Crawfordsville on the Washington-Louis County Line Road.
April 5, western Iowa: ISU Armstrong Research and Demo Farm, Pottawattamie County. Starts at 10:30 a.m., then a noon lunch. Farm is located at 53020 Hitchcock Ave, Lewis. Go 11 miles southwest of Atlantic on Highway 6, then one-half mile south on County Road M53 (525th St.) and three-quarter mile east on Hitchcock Ave.
To see the full 2012 Iowa Learning Farms field day schedule, visit the ILF website: www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf.