Wallaces Farmer

Iowa Learning Farms hosts upcoming cover crop field days April 12 at Larrabee, April 13 at Kanahwa and April 14 at Mt. Pleasant.

Rod Swoboda 1, Editor, Wallaces Farmer

April 7, 2016

6 Min Read

Three cover crop field days of interest to farmers in three different areas of Iowa will be held next week. First there’s a field day on how cover crops are being used with no-till farming on April 12 at Larrabee in northwest Iowa. A cover crop seeding techniques field day will be held April 13 near Kanawha in north-central Iowa. A grazing of cover crops meeting is set for April 14 at Mt. Pleasant in southeast Iowa.


Iowa Learning Farms, partnering with Gere Creek Watershed Project, will hold a cover crop field day on Tuesday, April 12, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Daryl Ducommun and Ramona and John Nitz farms in rural Larrabee in northwest Iowa. The event is free and open to the public, and includes a complimentary meal.

ILF to host cover crop field day April 12 near Larrabee

Cherokee County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner Ramona Nitz is leading by example on her farm by using cover crops and no-till farming. Ramona and her husband John have farmed for 30 years caring for their Century Farm. The Nitzs are using conservation practices to improve soil health and preserve the land for their kids to farm in the future. They are also capturing short term benefits of the cover crops by grazing their cattle.  

Neighbor and field day host Daryl Ducommun also has added cover crops, primarily cereal rye, to his no-till operation citing economics and soil conservation as driving factors for the decision. Ducommun and the Nitzs will share their experiences with cover crops while attendees visit nearby cover crop fields. Also speaking at the field day is Beth Doran, beef specialist for Iowa State University Extension, who will address the feed value of grazing cover crops as well as herbicide restriction considerations. Randy Sievert, pilot for Sievert Ag Air, will discuss and answer questions about aerial application of cover crops. Joel DeJong, ISU Extension field agronomist, will be available to answer questions.

The field day will be at the Ducommun Farm, 4265 R Ave., Larrabee. From Larrabee, take US-59 N for two miles. Turn right on 430th Street and go east one mile. Take the first left to head north on R Avenue. Destination is on east side of the road. Workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or email [email protected].

Cover crop seeding techniques field day April 13 at Kanawha

Iowa Learning Farms, partnering with Practical Farmers of Iowa, Hagie Manufacturing and Iowa State University Extension, will host the cover crop field day on Wednesday, April 13, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the ISU Northern Research and Demonstration Farm near Kanawha. The event is free, open to the public and includes a complimentary meal.

Cover crops continue to grow in popularity in Iowa due to the many benefits they provide. Such benefits include reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, increased soil organic matter and reduced soil erosion. Choosing which seeding method to implement can have a significant impact on achieving these benefits and farmer’s goals.

Evaluating and testing different cover crop seeding methods

To help producers evaluate different seeding techniques available, three demonstration sites were established in north-central Iowa to assess the establishment of single species cover crops and mixtures using three seeding methods: above canopy and below canopy into standing cash crop and postharvest drilling.

This field day offers an opportunity to visit the site established at the ISU Northern Research and Demonstration Farm and hear from the project partners: Tim Smith cover crop farmer who has a demonstration site near Eagle Grove; Stefan Gailans, Practical Farmers of Iowa research scientist; and Rachel Halbach, Hagie Manufacturing Company agronomist who has a cover crop demonstration site near Clarion.

The field day will start at the Kanawha demonstration site located on the south side of 5th St. (B63) Kanawha, IA 50447. From Main St. Kanawha, turn west on W 5th St. (B63) for 1/2 mile. Field day location is on south side of the road. After the program, a complimentary meal prepared by Big Brad’s BBQ will be served at the Northern Research and Demonstration Farm building 1040 James Ave., Kanawha. The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or email [email protected].

“Grassroots grazing” of cover crops workshop is in Mt. Pleasant

Iowa Learning Farms, partnering with Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Iowa Beef Center, will host a cover crop grazing workshop on Thursday, April 14, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Henry County Extension office in Mt. Pleasant. The event is free, open to the public and includes a complimentary meal.

Producers across the state are embracing Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy. A concerted effort to use cover crops as a method of conservation and protection of soil and water resources is underway. Cows offer a great opportunity to recoup implementation costs while recycling soil nutrients and reducing labor and feed needs. Iowa Learning Farms, Practical Farmers of Iowa, and the Iowa Beef Center are teaming up to share information on adding cover crops to your annual forage plan. Experienced producers will be on hand to share their stories.

How to economically fit cover crops into forage plan for livestock

“Farmers are asking a lot of questions surrounding cover crops, particularly how to economically fit them into a forage plan,” explains Patrick Wall, ISU Extension beef field specialist for southeast Iowa. Attendees at this meeting will also be able to ask questions to experienced producers already implementing cover crops as a forage source for their livestock enterprise.

Wall adds, “This is a significant investment at a time when commodity prices are low relative to input costs. It’s important we help them get it right. Timing, seeding method, when to graze, and termination prior to planting are all crucial to success.”

The workshop will take place at the Henry County Extension Office 127 N. Main Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641. The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food.  Contact the Henry County Extension Office at 319-385-8126 by April 12th to preregister today. For additional information contact Patrick Wall at 515-450-7665 or email [email protected]. For more about Iowa Learning Farms visit www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/.

About the Author(s)

Rod Swoboda 1

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Rod, who has been a member of the editorial staff of Wallaces Farmer magazine since 1976, was appointed editor of the magazine in April 2003. He is widely recognized around the state, especially for his articles on crop production and soil conservation topics, and has won several writing awards, in addition to honors from farm, commodity and conservation organizations.

"As only the tenth person to hold the position of Wallaces Farmer editor in the past 100 years, I take seriously my responsibility to provide readers with timely articles useful to them in their farming operations," Rod says.

Raised on a farm that is still owned and operated by his family, Rod enjoys writing and interviewing farmers and others involved in agriculture, as well as planning and editing the magazine. You can also find Rod at other Farm Progress Company activities where he has responsibilities associated with the magazine, including hosting the Farm Progress Show, Farm Progress Hay Expo and the Iowa Master Farmer program.

A University of Illinois grad with a Bachelors of Science degree in agriculture (ag journalism major), Rod joined Wallaces Farmer after working several years in Washington D.C. as a writer for Farm Business Incorporated.

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