Iowa Learning Farms To Host Cover Crop Workshops

Iowa Learning Farms To Host Cover Crop Workshops

Iowa Learning Farms and Practical Farmers of Iowa to hold five workshops on cover crops across Iowa in November.

Iowa Learning Farms and Practical Farmers of Iowa will host several cover crop workshops across Iowa in November. Workshop topics range from using cover crop mixtures, selecting the right cover crop, using cover crops to enhance soil and water quality, cover crop effects on soil health and more. Local farmers who are using cover crops on their fields, and experts from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, along with specialists with the USDA-National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, which is located at Iowa State University at Ames, and representatives of Practical Farmers of Iowa, will be the workshop speakers.

PLAN TO ATTEND: Mark your calendar and plan to attend an upcoming cover crop field day if you're interested in learning more about successful management of cover crops. Local farmers who are growing cover crops and ISU experts will share their ideas and advice.

The upcoming cover crop workshops include:
Nov. 12: Wallace Learning Center at the Armstrong Research Farm, Lewis
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; RSVP by Nov. 7

Nov. 18: Borlaug Learning Center, at the Northeastern Research Farm, Nashua
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; RSVP by Nov. 13

Nov. 19: Fire Department Building, 104 S. Main, Kanawha
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; RSVP by Nov. 14

Nov. 20: Rob Stout farm, 2449 Hemlock Ave., Washington
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; RSVP by Nov. 14
This workshop will also cover bioreactors.

Nov. 25: Truro Community Building, 100 S. Main Street
11 a.m.-1 p.m.; RSVP by Nov. 23

All workshops are free and include a complimentary lunch. Please RSVP to Iowa Learning Farms, 515-294-8912

or email: ilf@iastate.edu.

Cover crops are growing in popularity in Iowa. Research shows that when cover crops are added to a corn-soybean rotation, they can help reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, increase soil organic matter and reduce soil erosion. When cover crops are used in combination with other conservation management practices, point and nonpoint source pollution is reduced in Iowa waters and downstream.

Workshop speakers at the Armstrong Research Farm field day include Taylor County farmer Kelly Tobin, an ILF farmer partner and PFI member. Tobin has incorporated cereal rye into his corn-soybean rotation and is participating in an Iowa Cover Crops Working Group long-term rye study. Also speaking is Mark Hanna, ISU Extension Ag Engineer, who will discuss different methods for seeding cover crops and tips for planting into cover crop residue the following spring. Stefan Gailans, PFI research scientist, will review PFI's cover crop varieties trial. Tom Kaspar, plant physiologist with USDA National Laboratory for Ag and the Environment, will explain how cover crops help with the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and answer questions.

The Iowa Cover Crop Working Group's goal is to increase the amount of living cover on Iowa agricultural lands. The group provides a unified voice from academy, non-profit and industry sectors on the importance of cover crops and the encouragement of their use in cropping systems across the state.

TAGS: USDA Extension
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