Explore different crop rotations, new non-GMO hybrids and ways to reduce your use of off-farm inputs to make your farm more resilient and profitable. That's what you can see and learn about if you attend an upcoming field day being held jointly by Practical Farmers of Iowa, USDA's Agriculture Research Service (USDA-ARS), Iowa State University (ISU) and the US Testing Network (USTN).
The field day is set for Tuesday, September 13, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Iowa State Agronomy Farm west of Ames in central Iowa.
"With corn and soybean prices at an all-time high, now is a good time to re-evaluate off-farm input expenses and experiment with new practices that can help you farm more profitably," says Sarah Carlson, research and policy director for Practical Farmers of Iowa. "It's going to be an information-packed day and no matter which cropping system you currently employ, you will take away something useful."
Event starts at 10 a.m. with full-day of useful, practical information
From 10 a.m. to noon, professor of agronomy Matt Liebman, the Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture at ISU; Craig Chase, an ISU value-added specialist and Extension farm management economist; and Leonor Leandro, an ISU plant pathologist, will share results from comparisons of three different cropping systems and how they affect the need for inputs, economic returns and yields.
These three experts will also discuss how crop rotation can reduce the impact of soybean sudden death syndrome (SDS) and increase weed seed predators. Also, farmer Earl Hafner of Panora, Iowa, will talk about how to practically implement these rotations and practices on the farm.
If you are attending this morning session, please park at the ISU Field Extension Education Laboratory (FEEL) Station, at 1928 240th St., Boone, Iowa, just southwest of the main ISU Agronomy Farm.
Visit with seed retailers, breeders about non-GMO and organic corn
At noon, you can follow the group to the main ISU Agronomy Farm at 1308 U Ave., Boone. Eat lunch under the tent and visit with seed retailers and corn breeders, who are increasing the non-GMO and organic corn hybrid options available to farmers.
From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., participants will see a history-of-corn-breeding demonstration plot, learn how to interpret yield trial results from Jim Rouse, executive director of the Iowa Crop Improvement Association, and hear about improved organic and non-GMO corn hybrids from the following public corn breeders: USDA-ARS, Cornell, Ohio State, New Mexico State and the Michael Fields Ag Institute. In addition, Eric Clifton, graduate assistant in the ISU Entomology Department, will share initial results from a study comparing Entomopathogenic fungi levels between organic and conventional farm soils.
Another attraction is the Corn Breeders and Retailers' Tradeshow. This field day is free and open to the public; lunch is included. Contact Sarah Carlson, 515.232.5661 or [email protected] for more information.Directions to the FEEL Station during Hwy 30 construction: Approaching from east or west on Hwy 30, exit at Iowa Hwy 17 and continue south for 2 miles. Turn east on 240th street (gravel) and continue east for 1.5 miles. FEEL is on the south side of the road. Watch for signs on Hwy 17 and 240th Street. An alternate route for those approaching from the east on Hwy 30 is to take the S. Dakota (144) exit, turn south, and immediately after the ramps, turn west onto 240th Street (gravel). Continue west for 5.5 miles. FEEL is on the south side of the road. For directions visit: http://www.aep.iastate.edu/feel/FEELmap.pdf