Looking at the use of cover crops and strip till, Iowa Learning Farms is hosting a free, virtual field day at 1 p.m. Nov. 24. The presenter will be Mark Thompson, a Webster County, Iowa, farmer who is making cover crops and strip tillage work in the Des Moines Lobe.
That soil association is known for rich, heavy, dark soil. Thompson, who farms in the heart of the Des Moines Lobe, has been using no-till on all his soybean acres and strip till on his corn acres since 2002. During the virtual field day, he will share his experiences in figuring out which strip-till tools and timing of operations work best for his system.
“At first, it was an economics thing, as I wanted to reduce my production costs by reducing tillage. Then as I tried this no-till and strip-till system and worked with it, I found out that the benefits of soil and water conservation, nutrient management and erosion control came along with it,” Thompson says. “If you have never tried no-till, try some no-till beans. You will be shocked how well it works and how easy it is. You need to just hesitate and don’t do any tillage in the fall, and then plant the soybeans right into the cornstalks in the spring.”
Cover crops with strip till
Thompson first started using cover crops as a prevented planting measure in 2013. Observing the benefits to the land and reduction in soil erosion, he has continued to increase his use of cover crop acres and now raises cereal rye to provide cover crop seed for the rest of his farm. Thompson also takes a conservation approach as a professional farm manager and encourages the increased adoption of practices like cover crops and strip till across the state.
To participate in the live virtual field day at 1 p.m. Nov. 24, visit iowalearningfarms.org/page/events and click “Join Live Virtual Field Day.” Or you can join by calling 312-626-6799 or 646- 876-9923. The meeting ID is 914 1198 4892.
Participants in the webinar may be eligible for a certified crop adviser board-approved continuing education unit. Information about how to apply to receive the credit (if approved) will be provided at the end of the live field day.