Iowa Learning Farms, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and Poweshiek County Soil and Water Conservation District will host a cover crop field day on from noon to 2 p.m. Sept 14 at Roger Van Donselaar’s Farm. The event is free, open to the whole family, and includes a complimentary meal.
Cover crops continue to grow in popularity in Iowa due to their many benefits, reduced soil erosion, weed suppression potential, reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, and increased soil organic matter. Cover crops and no-till work together to help increase water infiltration and reduce erosion during heavy rain events. This field day aims to equip attendees with the best management practices to maintain yields during the transition to a higher-residue system of no-tillage and cover crops.
The workshop agenda will begin with a panel discussion, with host farmer Roger Van Donselaar and Mike Phillips, Poweshiek County farmer. Van Donselaar has been using no-till on his corn and soybean farm for nearly 30 years and added cover crops to the system six years ago to help with reducing herbicide use age and control erosion. As Van Donselaar says, “Cover crops do the tillage for you!”
Rebecca Vittetoe, ISU Extension agronomist, will provide cover crop species and seeding best management practices, and share tips for those considering grazing cover crops.
Liz Ripley, Iowa Learning Farms conservation and cover crop outreach specialist, will then share results from cover crop projects examining water quality implications and soil health indicators such as earthworms.
Beth Brand, Poweshiek County Natural Resources Conversation Service District conservationist, will share county updates and program opportunities.
The field day will be held at Van Donselaar’s Farm, 511 6th Ave. West, Grinnell. The shop and bin site are on the north side of the road, just west of Grinnell Health Care Center.
The workshop is free and open to the whole family, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. For reasonable accommodations and to RSVP, contact Ripley at 515-294-5429 or [email protected].
Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit iowalearningfarms.org.