This month’s Iowa Learning Farms webinar on April 17 will discuss the importance of soil quality for agriculture production. The noon webinar will cover how the quality of soil impacts productivity of crops, and how weather changes contribute to yield variation among years and within fields.
Enhancing the soil pays dividends because of the improved water and nutrient availability during crop reproductive development. Jerry L. Hatfield, lab director and plant physiologist at USDA’s National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, Iowa, will explain how soil can be enhanced by changing the system to promote and sustain an active soil biological system.
More efficient water, nutrient use
“Research shows that improving the soil paves the way for reduced yield variation among years and within fields,” says Hatfield, whose research focuses on understanding the dynamics of the G × E × M (genetics × environment × management) complex to evaluate the role of soil, with the changing weather, in crop performance. He wants webinar participants to understand that soils can change quickly and create a path toward increased efficiency of water and nutrient use.
On a sunny day early in the growing season, before a corn or soybean crop has had time to spread a canopy, the surface of bare soil around the plants can reach temperatures upward of 120 degrees F. “It basically cooks the biology right out of the soil,” says Hatfield. “But it doesn’t have to be that way. Reducing tillage intensity and leaving crop residue or using cover crops are solutions that bring the biology back to that soil. These are solutions that more and more farmers are succeeding with across the farm belt.”
ILF webinars archived
A cover crop adviser board approved continuing education unit is available for crop advisers and others who are able to watch the live webinar. Information for submitting your CCA, CPAg, CPSS or CPSC number to earn credit will be provided at the end of the presentation.
To watch, go to iowalearningfarms.org/page/webinars and click the link to join the webinar shortly before noon April 17, to download the Zoom software and log-in option. The webinar will be recorded and archived there for watching at any future time.