Iowa Learning Farms will host a field day at the Ann Smeltzer Charitable Trust Farm near Otho in Webster County, south of Ft. Dodge, on Wednesday July 17. Starting at 4 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m., the field day will feature several topics as visitors tour the farm. This field day was postponed from June 12 due to wet spring and late planting.
The field day agenda includes area farmers discussing the benefits of no-till and strip-till compared to traditional tillage. They will use a 150-foot soil root pit dug across these three practices so visitors can visually compare the soil quality and root depth between the three. Also attendees can see and learn about cover crops and bioreactors. These in-field and edge-of-field practices will lessen nitrogen and phosphorus entering the waterways in accordance with Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
Learn about management practices that lessen nitrogen and phosphorus runoff
Local field staff from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service will share work being done with buffers and streambanks to lessen erosion and improve water quality. Demonstrations of the ILF's Conservation Station's rainfall simulator will be conducted as well. The field day includes a complimentary evening meal. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
The field day is sponsored by Iowa Learning Farms in cooperation with the Webster and Hamilton County NRCS and the Ann Smeltzer Charitable Trust. The Smeltzer farm is located approximately 2.5 miles south of Otho on County Road P59.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
Iowa Learning Farms takes a grassroots approach offering innovative ways to help all Iowans have an active role in keeping our state's natural resources healthy and not take them for granted. Farmers work with Iowa State University Extension researchers and ILF team members to identify and implement the best in-field management practices that increase water and soil quality while remaining profitable.
Iowa Learning Farms' July webinar to focus on soil sustainability
The Iowa Learning Farms' (ILF) monthly webinar will also be held on Wednesday, July 17. Beginning at 11:30 a.m., it will feature Michael Castellano, an assistant agronomy professor at Iowa State University. His research focuses on nitrogen and soil organic matter. The webinar is part of a free series, hosted by ILF, through Adobe Connect. The series is presented on the third Wednesday of each month via the Internet. A computer with Internet access is all that is needed for you to tune-in and participate.
Soil organic matter, rather than fertilizer, is the largest direct source of crop nitrogen uptake – regardless of the amount of nitrogen fertilizer applied. Soil organic matter is also typically the largest sink for nitrogen fertilizer. Due to the effects of soil organic matter on nutrient availability as well as water holding capacity, soil organic matter is positively correlated with the amount and stability of crop yields. Castellano will discuss the status and management of soil organic matter stocks in Iowa soils.
Tune-in to learn how to better manage soil organic matter in fields you farm
Castellano received his Ph.D. in soil science from The Pennsylvania State University in 2009. He has worked in agricultural systems in Arizona, Texas, and Maryland. His research focuses on the use, transport and transformation of nitrogen.
To connect to the webinars, visit this link at 11:30 a.m. on the morning of the webinar and log in as a guest. Castellano will be able to answer questions from webinar "attendees" via the Adobe Connect chat box. The ILF website contains links for archived webinars from all previous sessions. The webinar archive will also be available in a podcast through iTunes.
Iowa Learning Farms is a partnership between 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); in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa, the Iowa Farm Bureau and the Iowa Water Center.