A free virtual field day on June 25 will discuss the experiences of farmers participating in a 10-year field-scale study of the effects of winter rye cover crops on corn and soybean yields.
Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Iowa Nutrient Research Center, Practical Farmers of Iowa and Conservation Learning Group, is hosting the online cover crop field day beginning at 1 p.m. June 25. The online presentation will have video footage from the field and live interaction with farmers and researchers during the event.
No effect on corn, bean yields
Iowa Learning Farms and Practical Farmers of Iowa recently concluded a 10-year, field-scale study of the effects of winter rye cover crops on corn and soybean yields. With consistent results across the full decade of recording and measurements, the final report notes no significant improvement or decline in cash crop yields attributable to the use of cover crops.
The 10-year study documents the conservation benefits of cover crops on farm fields and shows that cover crops are a long-term tool for soil health. The participating growers were asked to plant strips of cereal rye as a cover crop on their corn and soybean fields, leaving neighboring areas without the cover crops.
Farmers share knowledge
Several of the participating farmers in the study — Rick Juchems, Rob Stout and George Schaefer — will share their experiences. Stefan Gailans of Practical Farmers of Iowa and Mark Licht, Iowa State University Extension cropping systems specialist, will also provide insight and tips for success along with results from the study, which is one of the longest on-farm cover crop demonstration projects to date.
“Even though we had been no-tilling for 35 years, the previous year crop residue wasn’t holding the ground in place,” Stout says. “We decided we needed to take the next step and add the cover crops. We found that they do a super job for erosion control. We have also found a lot of soil health benefits from cover crops including better infiltration, soil tilth, more earthworms and increased microbial activity.”
Join June 25 webinar
Shortly before 1 p.m. June 25, go to ISU’s Zoom page or visit iowalearningfarms.org/page/events and click “Join Live Virtual Field Day.” Or call 312-626-6799 or 646-876-9923. The meeting ID is 914 1198 4892.
The field day will be recorded and archived on the ILF website so that it can be watched at any time. A certified crop adviser board-approved continuing education unit has been applied for, for those who are able to participate in the live webinar. Information about how to apply to receive the credit (if approved) will be provided at the end of the live field day.