Touring the Farm Progress Show site on Media Day, Aug. 22, a wagonload of news reporters and journalists got a preview of what’s going to be on display at the site near Boone, Iowa, during the three-day show Aug. 28-30.
One theme among many of the exhibits is supporting soil conservation and protecting water quality. Using cover crops on the farm is once again a popular topic.
Practical Farmers of Iowa invites farmers with questions about cover crops to stop by the Practical Farmers booth during this year’s Farm Progress Show. Cover crop experts will be available each day, along with PFI staff, to answer questions. Visitors to the booth can learn more about:
• cover crops as part of a conventional or organic corn-soybean system
• how cover crops can be used for livestock grazing, better manure handling and weed control
• how cover crops can be planted as part of a diversified system that includes small grains
• financial assistance through Practical Farmers’ cover crop cost-share program
Live potted cover crops will also be on display at the booth, along with a range of cover crop resources. Look for the Practical Farmers Booth 9515 on the west side of the Varied Industries Tent, in the Southwest Exhibit Field of the showgrounds.
Daily cover crop experts
The following farmers will be on hand during the show, each with expertise in specific aspects of cover crops:
• Nathan Anderson of Aurelia from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Anderson and his family raise corn, soybeans, cattle, small grains and hay. They have been using cover crops for more than five years and can answer questions on grazing, aerial seeding of multispecies mixes, and rotating with corn and soybeans.
• Ruth and Robert Harvey of Redfield from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — They’ve been using cover crops on over 1,000 acres and can answer questions on no-till and cover, aerial seeding, and planter setup for corn and soybeans into covers.
• Ann Franzenburg of Van Horne from 12:30 to 5 p.m. Franzenburg and her family have a diversified farm that includes corn and soybeans, fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, and botanical crops. They’ve used cover crops since 2012, and can answer questions on benefits of cover crops in dry conditions, how cover crops can help improve soil health, and extended crop rotations with corn, soybeans and milk thistle.
• Mark Peterson of Stanton from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Peterson and wife Melanie raise corn, soybeans and small grains, and have been using cover crops for 10 years. Peterson can answer questions on planning a spring nitrogen program for corn following a cereal rye cover crop, drilling vs. aerial-seeding cover crops with helicopters, and variety trial observations
• Ward Van Dyke of Reasnor from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Van Dyke raises primarily corn and soybeans, practicing no-till and reduced tillage and incorporating cover crops. He can answer questions on controlling weeds, working with ag retailers to seed cover crops with fertilizer application, and choosing the correct cover crop seeding rates to complement the following cash crop.
• Jack Boyer of Reinbeck from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Boyer and wife Marion grow seed corn, field corn, soybeans and some cover crop seed, and have been integrating cover crops for the past seven years. Boyer can answer questions on cover crops for weed control, cover crop seed production, and how cover crops complement strip-tillage and no-tillage systems
• Lisa Schulte Moore of Ames from 12:30-5 p.m. — Moore serves on PFI’s board of directors and is an assistant professor of natural resource ecology and management at Iowa State University. She and her husband also own part of her family’s diversified farm in Wisconsin. Moore can answer questions on integrating prairie strips into row crop ground.
• Sam Bennett of Galva from 12:30-5 p.m. — Bennett farms with wife Danielle and his father, brother and uncle, raising corn, soybeans, rye and cover crops. He is the sixth generation to care for his family’s century farm, and can answer questions on the benefits of cover crops for soil health, weed control in soybeans with rye and cover crop establishment in no-till systems.
• Fred Abels of Holland from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Abels and wife Vicki grow corn and soybeans, and operate a cow-calf operation. He can answer questions about using high-clearance seeders to establish cover crops, harvesting cover crop silage for cattle feed and improving water quality and soil health with covers.
• Jeremy Gustafson of Boone from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Gustafson farms corn, soybeans and small grains close to the Farm Progress Show site and can answer questions on cover crops on heavy, wet soils; summer cover crop mixtures; and planting soybeans into green rye.
• Paul Ackley of Bedford from 12:30 to 5 p.m. — Ackley and wife Nancy raise corn, soybeans, wheat, cattle and hair sheep. All crops are produced using no-till and cover crops. He can answer questions on how cover crops benefit soil health, how to diversify the rotation to increase cover crop production, and how cattle and sheep integrate with cover crops.
For more information on cover crops, or Practical Farmers of Iowa’s presence at the Farm Progress Show, contact Sarah Carlson at 515-232-5661 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more, visit practicalfarmers.org.