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Plant Perennial Grass Strips With Row CropsPlant Perennial Grass Strips With Row Crops

Tune-in to Iowa Learning Farms May 16 Webinar, learn about controlling soil loss by planting strips of perennial grass in erosion-prone areas of corn and soybean fields.

May 14, 2012

2 Min Read

The Iowa Learning Farms May webinar, to be held Wednesday, May 16 at 11:30 a.m., will feature Matt Helmers, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach water quality engineer. This webinar is part of a series of online sessions, hosted by ILF and held on the third Wednesday of each month through Adobe Connect. All that is needed for you to participate is a computer with Internet access.


Helmers' topic is Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairies, or STRIPs, which is an on-going research and demonstration project in fields at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, just east of Des Moines in central Iowa. This research project explores the notion that perennial prairie plants strategically placed within row crop fields will improve field biodiversity, water quality, nutrient and carbon cycling. The research is being conducted at the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge near Prairie City.

Results from 2007-2011 show sediment loss was reduced by 95%

The perennial strips of grass were planted in 2007 and a corn-soybean rotation has been used on all the research tracts. Numerous studies are taking place with the project including: surface runoff, nutrient export, water use of plants, insect and bird populations within the habitat and plant diversity, yields from row crops as well as social data and perceptions of conservation practices functioning within the row crop rotations.

Helmers will focus the webinar on the water quality aspect of this project. Data from 2007-2011 showed that sediment loss was reduced approximately 95% from watersheds with 10% to 20% native prairie vegetation.

To connect to the webinars, go to: https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/.   Helmers will be able to answer questions from webinar "attendees" via the Adobe Connect chat box. The ILF website contains links for archived webinars from previous months:www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/Webinars/.

Iowa Learning Farms is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at ISU, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service in Iowa and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources; in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa, the Iowa Farm Bureau and the Iowa Water Center.

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