This month's Iowa Learning Farms webinar will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 19, beginning at 11:30 a.m. The presenter for November is Mary Harris, a faculty member at Iowa State University in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and in the Department of Entomology.
Harris will present information on pollinators that have found habitat in perennial prairie plants within row crop fields. She has been part of the ISU research team with the STRIPS project: Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips. The project is located at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, which is near Prairie City in central Iowa. The research results showed that the prairie plants supported a community of pollinators including 70 species of bees.
Strips provide pollinator habitat for intensively farmed fields
Harris's research includes looking into what happens when you provide pollinator habitat in intensively farmed landscapes. She is also studying the impacts on honey bees foraging on resources contaminated with neonicotinoid pesticides, which are pesticides that are similar to nicotine.
The November 19 webinar is part of a free series, hosted by ILF, through Adobe Connect. The webinars are held on the third Wednesday of each month. They are free and all that is needed to participate is a computer with Internet access. To connect to the webinar, go to: connect.extension.iastate.edu/ilf at 11:30 a.m. on the morning of the webinar and log on using the "guest" option.
Planting strips of prairie plants on slopes in row crop fields
Prairie strips are an emerging agricultural conservation practice that strategically integrates small sections of prairie into corn and soybean fields. The project at Prairie City has been supported by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture since the project began in 2007. The initial research site at Neal Smith demonstrated that planting diverse, native perennial vegetation in small areas of crop fields with high conservation value reduces runoff and thereby keeps more soil and nutrients in the field.
ILF has hosted a monthly webinar since January 2011. The site has links for archived webinars from all previous sessions. There are over 45 webinars available to view on a variety of topics including soil erosion, cover crops and farmer perspectives. These can be viewed at any time. The webinar archives are also available in podcast through iTunes.
Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation, 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 ILF are the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, ISU Extension, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319), Conservation Districts of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Water Center and Practical Farmers of Iowa. For information about Iowa Learning Farms visit the ILF website.