Iowa Learning Farm Tour Promotes Soil Conservation

Jim Fawcett, Extension Field Agronomist, Southeast Area

Problem Statement:

With corn and soybean prices at record highs it is tempting for crop producers to till up marginal crop ground and abandon soil conservation practices to strive to produce more grain to meet the market demands. Crop producers need to be educated on the long-term benefits of protecting the soil and water.

Programmatic Response:

A field day was conducted at an Iowa Learning Farm site on the Rob Stout farm in Washington County where Rob is demonstrating various production practices on a corn and soybeans in a long-term no-till field.  In addition to soil conservation, the timely topic of soybean aphid management was included in promotions for the tour to try to increase attendance. A grant from Qualisoy was used to provide a meal and refreshments for attendees. A rainfall simulator was set up at the tour to demonstrate the affects of various soil conservation practices on soil erosion and water quality.


Despite threatening weather and a thunderstorm during the tour that resulted in over 3 inches of rain, about 50 attended the tour, including some from neighboring counties.  Due to the weather, the group was moved at the last minute into a machine shed. It appeared that the challenging circumstances actually helped to improve the educational event. There were many questions and much discussion about the topics of soybean aphids, cover crops, specialty soybeans, and soil conservation. Several commented that it was one of the best field days they had attended, and personally I think it was one of the best Ive been involved with.

April 22, 2008

161 Adoption and Implementation of Conservation Practices

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