Name and Position/Title:
Joel DeJong, ISUE Field Agronomist
Iowa Producers Learn how to Use Cover Crops to Reduce Erosion
Issue (Who cares and Why):
Some crop producers recognize the value of having a cover crop on acres that are at risk of erosion. Since grain crops usually protect erodible soil only about 5 out of 12 months, many producers understand the need for longer protection of erodible soils. Because some Iowa counties now fund cover crops as part of their EQIP program, producers need to know how cover crops will affect their production before they sign up for the EQIP program.
What Did You Do? (Outputs – these may include educational meetings, demonstrations or research, media, facilitating, partnering)
ISU Extension, Iowa Learning Farm, and NRCS cooperatively held a field day demonstrating the use of cover crops at the Lewis Byers farm near Pierson in Woodbury County, June 2009. Speakers provided information on seeding techniques to make their operations more cost effective. Thirty-eight producers attended to learn more about seeding rates, methods of seeding, establishing a successful cover crop, and managing the crop and residue the following spring. A survey was conducted after the field day to determine what practices producers intended to implement as a result of learning about the conservation benefits of cover crops.
Results (Outcomes – was there a increase in knowledge, new skills learned, new decisions made, new practices implemented, increased profitability, new standards, enhanced quality of life) Survey results show that 39% of attendees indicated that they will establish cover crops on their erodible soils. Sixty-two percent noted that they are networking with other farmers about conservation ideas, including that day. Increased understanding of rye cover crop establishment was noted in comments from the survey, showing their understanding of the time period when a cover crop needs to be seeded, when it needs to be harvested or turned under to protect the next crop, and which methods of seed establishment work best.
Page last updated:
January 27, 2011
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