The Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Iowa State University, and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship are partnering on a new effort to improve farm productivity and water quality. The project involves documenting the effectiveness of in-field and edge-of-field nutrient management practices for selected drainage districts (DD) in Palo Alto (DD 15 North), Pocahontas (DD 65, 48-81, 178), and Clay (DD 8) counties in Iowa.
Farmers that participate will lead the voluntary-based approach to help reduce nitrogen and phosphorus exports to downstream waters by using documentation at the multiple-farm scale. Documentation will note potential nitrogen and phosphorus losses in relation to in-field and edge-of-field nutrient management, which support the efforts of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
Participating farmers can evaluate their nutrient application rates
"As farmers, we take stewardship very seriously. While we cannot control the weather, we do control the manner in which nutrients are applied to our land. Our land is precious, and we applaud farmers who make improvements to their land that dramatically impact water quality," says Wayne Humphreys, a farmer from Columbus Junction, who chairs the Animal Ag & Environment Committee for Iowa Corn.
Farmers participating in the research project can anonymously evaluate their individual nutrient application rates and crop yields to possibly improve yields, fine-tune nutrient inputs and consider if improved drainage within the drainage district can increase potential crop yields and enhance water quality.
"Project partners are committed to working with farmers and documenting what can be done in the voluntary-based approach. Ultimate success will depend on the assistance of farmers in documenting practices implemented in these drainage districts," says ag engineering professor Matt Helmers of Iowa State University, who is involved with the project. Farmers in these drainage districts can learn more about participating in the project by calling Helmers at 515-294-6717 or by emailing [email protected].