You are encouraged to tune in to a free webinar on your home computer, hosted by Practical Farmers of Iowa, to learn about money-saving, profit making farm management practices. The next one in the series of winter "farminars" will be held
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., on the basics of adding cover crops to corn and soybeans in both conventional and organic systems.
This webinar will feature two farmers experienced with using cover crops: Steve McGrew, of Emerson (Mills County in southwest Iowa) and Earl Hafner, of Panora (Guthrie County in west central Iowa). The farminar can be viewed at the PFI website. If you've missed a seminar and would like to view it and listen to it on your computer, you are in luck! All archived farminars and audio podcasts of past farminars are also available at this link.
Practical Farmers of Iowa has developed this free winter online seminar series in an effort to help farmers learn from each other without having to travel. The interactive webinars – called farminars – are presented live on Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. CST, from Jan. 8 through Feb. 26, 2013. There is also a special lunchtime farminar 12-1:30 p.m. CST, Thursday Jan. 24. Enterprises span livestock, vegetable and row crop production. The series is open to anyone, and any computer with an Internet connection may be used to participate. To participate, go to the PFI website. Remember, all archived farminars and audio podcasts of past farminars are also available at this link.
These farminars are led by farmers who have experience and knowledge on the topic of the day
Farminars are led by farmers from around the world, including Vermont, Wisconsin and Victoria, Australia. Many of the presentations are in a "fish-bowl" format, where attendees listen as an experienced farmer answers a beginning farmer's questions.
Topics featured in the winter series this year are: The Yeomans plow and Keyline design; selecting corn hybrids and soybean varieties; cover crop basics for corn and soybeans; fruit and vegetable farm crop insurance options; profit potential in high tunnels; full-time year-round employment considerations; alternatives to corn and soybeans in swine feed rations; selecting beef animals for a grass-based system; and vegetable irrigation basics.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
Practical Farmers of Iowa's 2013 winter farminars are made possible with funding from the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture; USDA Risk Management Agency; USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant Program through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship; Cedar Tree Foundation; Ag Ventures Alliance; John Deere; and Clif Bar.
Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers, advancing profitable, ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture through farmer-to-farmer networking, farmer-led investigation and information sharing. Farmers in our network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For additional information, call 515.232.5661 or visit the PFI website.
Here's the 2013 "Winter Farminar" line-up of dates and topics
All farminars are held 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on central time, unless noted otherwise.
1) Tuesday, January 8 – "Yeomans Plow and Keyline Design" – Jeremy Peake and Darren Doherty
- Get to know the Yeomans Plow and Keyline Design and learn how subsoil plowing can improve your farm productivity, water holding capacity, and reduce compaction.
- Jeremy and Jodi Peake, of Waukon, IA, manage a grass-based herd of 35 dairy cows. While they have farmed for more than 11 years, they have only recently begun experimenting with the Yeomans plow.
- Darren Doherty is a 5th generation farmer from Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. Darren also works as a farm planner, developer and educator, specializing in drought-proofing, soil management and practical farm layout design. He has experience using Yeomans Plow and Keyline Design concepts on his farm and as a consultant to farmers in more than 40 countries.
2) Tuesday, January 15 – "Selecting Corn Hybrids and Soybean Varieties" – Eric Franzenburg, Laura Krouse, and Maury Johnson
- Gain a diverse view of the nuts and bolts of genetic selection and decision-making for corn and soybean seeds. Farmers and a seed production expert will cover genetically-modified, non-GMO, open-pollinated and organic seeds. ~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
- Eric Franzenburg of Van Horne, Iowa farms several hundred acres of conventional corn and soybeans. Eric will discuss his process of selecting GMO corn hybrids and soybean varieties.
- Laura Krouse, of Mount Vernon, Iowa manages about 40 cropland acres in a four-year rotation (corn, oats/hay, hay, and vegetable garden). She plants an open-pollinated corn variety grown on her Abbe Hills Farm since 1903.Maury Johnson currently works for Blue River Hybrids in Kelly, IA which specializes in non-GMO and organic seed choices. He will add almost 30 years' experience in the seed business focused on seed production to the discussion.
3) Tuesday, January 22 – "Cover Crop Basics for Corn and Soybeans" – Steve McGrew and Earl Hafner
- Learn from farmers with experience using cover crops in conventional and organic systems.
- Steve McGrew farms corn and soybeans with his brothers near Emerson, IA. Using cover crops for many years on no-till conventional farmland in gently rolling hills, he has seen vast improvements in soil conservation effects.
- Earl Hafner organically farms about 2,000 acres near Panora with his son Jeff. They use cover crops extensively in their operation. The Hafners use tillage to kill the cover crops in the spring and also grow small grains in organic rotation.
4) Thursday, January 24 – "Specialty Crop Insurance: One Farmer's Experience and Vision" – Richard deWilde – Noon 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM Central time
- Have you considered insuring for your fresh produce farm this summer? Hear a farmer's take on what is available as well as his vision for a more suitable insurance program for fruit and vegetable farms.
- Richard deWilde, of Harmony Valley Farm, Viroqua, Wisconsin, has been growing organic vegetables since 1973. He will explain his experience with Farm Service Agency's Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) and will provide an overview of NAP requirements and potential returns if there is a crop loss.
5) Tuesday, January 29 – "Explore the Profit Potential of High Tunnels" – Adam Montri
- Learn how to harvest not just great winter greens, but profits as well from your season-extending structure.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
- Adam Montri of Ten Hens Farm, near Bath, Michigan, raises crops year-round in his high tunnel. Adam also serves as the hoophouse outreach specialist for Michigan State University, serving high tunnel growers across Michigan.
6) Tuesday, February 5 – "Considerations for Year-Round Employment for Vegetable Farms" – Pete Johnson and Melissa Dunham
- Do you plan to grow your farm to offer year-round employment to staff? Learn practical ways to build your farm's capacity to provide work and pay for employees all year.
- Pete Johnson, of Craftsbury Vermont, started Pete's Greens in 1995 and now manages a diversified vegetable farm with marketing and production systems that keep more than 12 full-time employees busy all year.
- Melissa Dunham of Grinnell Heritage Farm near Grinnell, Iowa grows about 20 acres of fresh vegetables. She and her husband Andrew currently hire employees from late February through November. They aspire to offer full-time, year-round employment in the future.
7) Tuesday, February 12 – "Feed Alternatives to Corn and Soybeans" – Cindy McCollough and Drew Lietz
- Feeding livestock and cringing at the high prices of feed corn and soybean meal? Find out how to add alternate grains to your ration to cut costs.
- Cindy McCollough, of Bluestem Enterprises, in Webster City, Iowa owns a specialty and organic grains feed mill that works with farmers and their livestock.
- Drew Lietz, a beginning row crop and livestock farmer near Alta, Iowa will offer questions from his perspective feeding swine raised for Niman Ranch. He will also talk about partially replacing soybean meal with canola meal in his ration.
8) Tuesday, February 19 – "Selecting the Right Genetics for a Grass-based System" – Bruce Carney, Jacob Meyers and Jake Wheeler.
- Three graziers share their path to find animals that work on grass. Hear what traits to select for in your beef cowherd and choose superior genetics for finishing on grass. ~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
- Bruce and his wife Connie Carney, of Carney Family Farms in Maxwell, Iowa have a beef cowherd with 125 cow-calf pairs and a bull from Pharo Cattle Company.
- Jacob and his wife Sarah Myers have a beef cowherd with 20 cow-calf pairs on 140 acres of rented pasture northeast of Maxwell, Iowa. They are working to improve genetics with artificial insemination using Angus bulls dating as far back as the 1960s.
- Jake Wheeler and his wife Amber have a 25 head black angus cowherd on 160 acres of rugged pasture they own near Monroe, Iowa.
9) Tuesday, February 26 – "Vegetable Irrigation Basics for Beginning Farmers" – Chris Blanchard
- New to irrigation? Get the basics you need to build a system to more efficiently water your vegetable crops in the field this summer.
- Chris Blanchard owns Rock Spring Farm near Decorah, Iowa, and provides education and outreach about systems and tools for farmers to succeed in agriculture, business, and life through Flying Rutabaga Works. Topics to be addressed include: source considerations (wells, rural water, or surface streams and ponds), pumps (gasoline, electric, and PTO-powered), flow rates, particulate filters, supply pipe (lay flat, poly, and aluminum), application methods (sprinklers, stand pipe, traveling irrigation guns, and drip tape), as well as tips and tricks, and resources for more information.