AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms, along with Practical Farmers of Iowa, will host three Iowa cover crop field days in mid-November. The field days will focus on using cover crops to aid in the reduction of soil erosion and improving soil health as part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Using cover crops for grazing livestock also will be addressed. All the field days are free and open to the public.
The Don Elsbernd farm near Postville is the site of the Wednesday, Nov. 13, field day to be held from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Attendees will carpool from the Elsbernd farmstead to three nearby sites of cover crops. Upon return to the farm, Jacob Groth with Allamakee County Natural Resources Conservation Service NRCS will talk about the county’s aerial seeding program, financial assistance available from NRCS and state funds, and general cover crop observations from fields in the northeast Iowa area. Lunch will be served upon return to the farm.
The Don Elsbernd farm is located at 809 Pole Line Road, Postville, Iowa. From Postville, go north on Highway 51, approximately five miles to County Road W4B. Travel northwest on W4B about one mile to the first gravel road, which will be Pole Line Road. Take this north about 1.5 miles. The farmstead will be on the east side of the road.
The field day in Stanton Thursday, Nov. 14, will begin with a noon meal at the Fire Station community room, at 205 Broad. The program will begin at 12:45 p.m. and conclude at 3 p.m. Attendees will carpool to several cover crop locations, including two sites screening 18 cover crop species. The tour also will make brief stops at a drilled cover crop site and an aerially seeded cover crop field. Upon returning to the fire station, local farmer Mark Peterson will share his experiences using cover crops for soil health, erosion reduction and as a third crop. Colten Catterton, staff member with Green Cover Seed, will share information about cover crop forages and mixture choices for livestock use. Practical Farmers of Iowa livestock coordinator Margaret Dunn will have new cover crop and livestock handouts available.
A cover crop field day is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 19, from 12 – 3 p.m. at the Fred Abels farm near Holland. Guests may arrive at noon for a free chili lunch prior to the program, which begins at 1 p.m. Speakers include host Fred Abels, who is incorporating cover crops on his farm for cattle grazing as well as for soil health. Practical Farmers of Iowa livestock coordinator Margaret Dunn and Abels will answer questions regarding grazing livestock on cover crops and broader ways to incorporate livestock and cover crops together. Kathy Kucera, crop insurance agent with Mid-Iowa Cooperative, will talk about the new USDA-RMA guidelines. If weather permits, Abels will guide a tour of the cover crop grazing areas on his farm.
The Abels farm is located at 20902 J Ave, Holland, Iowa. From Holland, go two miles west on D-35 and a half-mile south on J Ave.
Field day sponsors
Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers, advancing profitable, ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture through farmer-to-farmer networking, farmer-led investigation and information sharing. Farmers in our network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For additional information, call 515-232-5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Iowa Learning Farms takes a grassroots approach to offering Iowans innovative ways to be actively involved in keeping our state’s natural resources healthy and not take them for granted. A goal of Iowa Learning Farms is to build a culture of conservation, encouraging the adoption of residue management and conservation practices. Iowa State researchers and ILF team members are working with farmers to identify and implement the best in-field management practices that increase water and soil quality while remaining profitable. For more information, go to: www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf.