Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Iowa Cover Crop Working Group, will host six cover crop workshops this spring in Cerro Gordo, O’Brien, Black Hawk, Johnson, Mahaska, and Pottawattamie counties. The workshops are free, open to the public, and include a complimentary meal. The first workshop begins Feb. 23 and the last one is March 3.
Cover crops continue to grow in popularity in Iowa due to the many benefits they provide. Such benefits include reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, increased soil organic matter, and reduced soil erosion. Fall 2015 was a good season for cover crop establishment and growth, with adequate moisture and growing temperatures. Great fall growth helped protect the soil during the heavy rain events, but could present challenges this spring if farmers are not prepared with a termination plan and equipment adjustments.
Get information to help you prepare for spring management
These cover crop workshops will help prepare producers for spring management of cover crops and allow time for discussion to answer questions from new and experienced cover crop users. You are most welcome to attend and learn more about how cover crops can help toward better water quality, which is the goal of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
Topics at the workshops will range from herbicide recommendations for termination and establishment of cover crops, to planter settings, to handle higher amounts of biomass, as well as cover crop seed selection, cover crop effects on soil health and more. Speakers include experts from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Practical Farmers of Iowa and USDA-ARS National Soil Tilth Laboratory.
Cover crop workshop dates and locations are:
* February 23: Ventura Community Center, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Address is 4 North Weimer Street, Ventura, IA 50482
* February 24: ISU Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Address is 6320 500th Street, Sutherland, IA 51058
* February 25: Hawkeye Community College, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Location is Tama Hall, Room 102. Address is 844 West 4th Street, Waterloo, IA 50702. This one is held in partnership with Miller Creek Water Quality Improvement Project.
* March 1: The Celebration Farm, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Location is Timber Frame Barn, at 4696 Robin Woods Lane NE, Iowa City, IA 52240. This one is held in partnership with Rapid Creek Watershed Project.
* March 2: Mahaska County Extension Office, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Address is 212 North I Street, Oskaloosa IA 52577
* March 3: Armstrong Memorial Research & Demonstration Farm, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Address is 53020 Hitchcock Avenue, Lewis, IA 51544
These workshops are free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or email [email protected]. For details on the workshops, and for more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website extension.iastate.edu/ilf/.
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 Iowa Learning Farms are the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, 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.