Iowa Learning Farms will host three cover crop workshops this spring—one in each of three different locations in the state. They will be held in Jasper County in central Iowa, in Washington County in southeast Iowa and Clay County in northwest Iowa. The evening workshops are free, open to the public, and include a complimentary meal.
Cover crops are growing in popularity in Iowa. 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. As part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, when cover crops are used in combination with other conservation management practices, point and nonpoint source pollution is reduced in Iowa waters and downstream. Other conservation management practices that help reduce nutrients entering waterways include strip-tillage or no-tillage, grass waterways, installing buffers and terraces, wetlands and bioreactors and more.
The three upcoming cover crop workshops include:
March 5: Workshop in central Iowa will be held at DMACC Newton campus, from 6 to 8 p.m. in Newton. Location of the DMACC campus is 600 North 2nd Ave. West. The meeting is in Room 251. Host farmer is Gordon Wassenaar of Prairie City. RSVP by March 1 to Jasper County Extension at 641-792-6433.
March 25: Workshop in southeast Iowa will be at Steve and Dennis Berger farm from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Location is 127 Elm Avenue, Wellman, Iowa.
April 2: Workshop in northwest Iowa will be at Matt and Stephanie Essick farm from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Address is 3075 400th Street, Dickens, Iowa.
Topics at the workshops range from using cover crop single species and mixtures, planter development and precision farming with cover crops and no-till, cover crop effects on soil health and more. Speakers include farmers who have had success using cover crops and experts from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
For details on the workshops, and for more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website.
Cover crop survey: Please help the Cooperative Extension Services of the Midwest States by completing a short online survey on cover crops by Friday, February 27, 2015. You can do the survey whether you are actively using cover crops on your farm or not. The organization is identifying factors related to the adoption or lack of use of cover crops in the Midwest. This will help in their programming and material development on the benefits and challenges of cover crops.
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 ILF are Iowa Department of Agriculture & and Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Iowa, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Conservation Districts of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Water Center and Practical Farmers of Iowa.