Iowa Learning Farms to host upcoming cover crop field days

Iowa Learning Farms to host upcoming cover crop field days

First one is a cover crop, strip-tillage and no-till field day on June 8 near Gilmore City.

Iowa Learning Farms will host several upcoming field days discussing and looking at the use of cover crops, strip-till and no-till. These field days are free and open to the public.

June 8 in north-central Iowa: ILF will host a cover crop and strip-tillage field day on Wednesday, June 8, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Bob and Linda Lynch’s farm, in rural Gilmore City. The event includes a complimentary meal.

TALKING COVER CROPS: Farmers and ISU specialists who have experience with cover crops, strip-till and no-till will speak at upcoming cover crop field days in June at several locations in Iowa. They’ll share results on best management practices for cover crops and no-till and strip-till planting.

Bob Lynch, Humboldt County Soil and Water Conservation District commissioner and Conservation Districts of Iowa president, is leading by example on his family farm by implementing cover crops, strip-tillage and no-tilling soybeans into standing corn stalks. Along with their son Jay, Bob and Linda farm land that has been in their family for more than 100 years. The Lynchs are implementing conservation practices on their farm because they "want to leave the soil in better shape for future generations of family farmers. Working the soil kills the soil and critters in the soil." Bob will have his planter and strip-till machine on display as he shares his experience of transitioning to strip-tillage and implementing cover crops.

Cover crops, herbicide restrictions, planter settings, N management

Also speaking at this field day is Angie Rieck-Hinz, field agronomist for Iowa State University Extension. She will discuss the benefits cover crops as well as herbicide restriction considerations. Mark Hanna, an ISU Extension agricultural engineer, will share tips on adjusting planter settings for no-till systems, as well as considerations for strip-tillage systems. Clare Lindahl, executive director for Conservation Districts of Iowa, will discuss the "retain N" project for testing tile lines for nitrogen.

The field day will be held at the Lynch Farm, 809 SE D Ave, Gilmore City. From Humboldt, take IA-3 west for 10 miles. Turn left on Birch Ave. and head south for 0.3 miles. Take the first right to head west on SE D Ave. Destination will be on the north side of the road. The workshop is 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].

New Market cover crop field day is scheduled for June 15

Iowa Learning Farms will host a cover crop field day Wednesday, June 15, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Kelly and Irene Tobin’s farm, near New Market in southwest Iowa. The event is free and open to the public, and includes a complimentary meal.

June 15 in southwest Iowa: Kelly Tobin, a Taylor County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner, began using no-till in 1979 and cover crops in 2008. “Cover crops and no-till go together. They control erosion, keep nutrients in the field and protect water quality," Tobin says. "They also help build up the soil and improve profitability."

Since 2008, Tobin has participated in a long-term cereal demonstration project with ILF, Practical Farmers of Iowa and Iowa Cover Crop Working Group. After two years of seeding cereal rye, crimson clover and some radishes, Tobin has committed to using cover crops on all of the farm’s 400 crop acres. Tobin will share the best management practice for managing the cover crop and additional soil health benefits he has achieved, including improved soil infiltration.

Results of long-term cereal rye cover crop project

Sarah Carlson, Midwest Cover Crop Council Research Coordinator for Practical Farmers of Iowa, will share results from the long term cereal rye project demonstrated on Tobin’s farm and five other continuing sites across the state. The presence of night crawler earthworms in a field are a biological indicators of soil health. Results from an earthworm count study conducted at the Tobin farm and five additional sites will also be shared by Iowa Learning Farms staff.

From Clarinda, take IA-2 east for 6 miles. When you reach New Market turn left on Main Street (N26) and head north for 1 mile. Turn right and go east on 210th Street for 3 miles. Turn left to go north on Forest Avenue for about 1/2 mile. Destination will be on the east side of the road. The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food prepared by Dessert First of Bedford. Contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or email [email protected].

Iowa City Cover Crop and Soil Health Field Day is June 16

Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Rapid Creek Watershed Project and Iowa Soybean Association, will host a cover crop and soil health field day June 16 from 5 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Tom and Anita Wall farm near Iowa City. The event is free and open to the public, and includes a complimentary meal.

June 16 in eastern Iowa: The Walls have been farming corn and soybeans for 33 years, as well as managing a wean-to-finish hog operation near Iowa City. Citing soil conservation and cost savings as the main factors, the Walls have been using no-till practices for both corn and soybeans for the past 15 years. In 2013, they added cereal rye and turnip cover crops to their operation to help with soil conservation and improve soil health.  

Speakers include farmers, agronomists and researchers

Matt Liebman, agronomy professor at Iowa State University, will discuss incorporating small grains and perennial forage into row crop rotations. Washington County and Iowa Learning Farms farmer partner, Steve Berger will share his experiences with incorporating cover crops into his no-till system. Jason Steele, Area Resource Soil Scientist for Iowa Natural Resource Conservation Service will lead a demonstration and discussion on soil quality and soil health. The Conservation Station rainfall simulator will also be on hand demonstrating the effects of rainfall on different agricultural and urban land use scenarios through the collection of water runoff and subsurface drainage.

The field day will be held at the Wall Farm, 5339 Morse Rd NE, Iowa City. From Iowa City, take IA-1 N for about 5 miles. Turn right on Morse Rd NE and head east for 3.6 miles. Destination will be on the south side of the road. The workshop is 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]. Or contact Justin Bisinger, Rapid Creek Watershed Coordinator, at 319-337-2322 ext. 300.

For more information about ILF visit www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/.

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