How to get full potential from cover crops

How to get full potential from cover crops

Iowa Learning Farms webinar Aug. 19 will show farmers how to get the most benefit from planting a cover crop.

 The regular monthly Iowa Learning Farms webinar for August will be on Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 1 p.m. This month's guest speaker is Tom Kaspar who will present "Reaching the Full Potential of Cover Crops in Iowa."

IT'S FREE, TUNE-IN: The regular monthly Iowa Learning Farms webinar is Wednesday Aug. 19. Cover crop expert Tom Kaspar will present "Reaching the Full Potential of Cover Crops in Iowa."

Although cover crops have been around a long time, "we don't have much experience on their use in modern corn-soybean rotations in Iowa," says Kaspar. "We do, however, understand the general principles of how winter cover crops improve soil health and reduce losses of sediment, nutrients and organic matter from corn and soybean fields.  Today, we have barely scratched the surface of the potential benefits that cover crops might provide. Only continued long-term research and farmer trials will allow us to reach the full potential of cover crops."

Tune-in to hear Kaspar's advice on this timely topic
You are invited to log in to this free webinar to hear Kaspar's perspective on various aspects of cover crops and their management.

Tom Kaspar is a plant physiologist at the USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, located on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames. He has been with USDA/ARS since 1981. Over his career, Kaspar's research has focused on crop and soil management to improve water quality and soil productivity. Since 1990, he has worked on the benefits and management of winter rye as a cover crop in corn and soybean rotations in Iowa.

Ask questions of the presenter; past webinars archived
The ILF webinars are held on the third Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. They are free and all that's needed to participate is a computer with Internet access. To participate, go to at 1 p.m. on the afternoon of the webinar and log in through the guest option. Webinar attendees will be able to converse with Kaspar by typing their questions through the chat function. The ILF webinars are recorded and archived on the ILF website for viewing at any time at

Since January 2011, ILF has hosted a webinar every month. There are over 55 webinars to view on a wide range of topics including soil erosion, cover crops, buffers, bioreactors and farmer perspectives. The webinar archives are also available in podcast through iTunes.


Attend Iowa nutrient reduction strategies field day August 27
In other news, farmers and landowners are encouraged to attend a nutrient reduction strategy field day at the ISU Drainage Research and Demonstration Project site near Gilmore City on Thursday, Aug. 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. It's free and open to the public.

This year's event celebrates the 25th anniversary for research and technology development of nutrient reduction strategies at the Gilmore City site. The event will focus on impacts and findings from the past 25 years, current research results and their relationship to the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

The program will include comments by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and John Lawrence, associate dean for ag and natural resources for ISU Extension. Matt Helmers, ISU ag and biosystems engineer, will address the relationship of research at this site to the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. He'll also outline future efforts and watershed-scale evaluation in collaboration with the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.

What ISU has learned after 25 years of drainage research
Ag specialist and site manager Carl Pederson will discuss management and impacts of cover crops. Additionally, ISU professor of wetland ecology Bill Crumpton will discuss nitrate removal wetland performance and monitoring for two years in the Pocahontas and Palo Alto county drainage districts.

A complimentary light supper will be served prior to the program with assistance of the Pocahontas County Cattlemen. Iowa State University Extension, Iowa Learning Farms, Iowa Corn Promotion Board and Iowa Department of Ag & Land Stewardship are sponsors of this event. The field day and research site is located two miles west of Gilmore City on Highway 3, then one mile north on 320th Avenue and then one-half mile west on 510th Street.

This research site was established in 1990 to address concerns with ag drainage wells and now the site is serving the broader purposes related to all water quality issues of tile drained landscapes. For more information contact Matt Helmers at 515-294-6717 ([email protected]) or Extension field agronomists Paul Kassel 712-262-2264 ([email protected]) or Angie Rieck-Hinz 515-532-3453 ([email protected]).

TAGS: USDA Extension
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