Cover Crop Management Field Day Aug. 21

AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms, Practical Farmers of Iowa and Mitchell County NRCS/SWCD will co-host a field day at the John Schwarck farm near Riceville, Iowa, on Tuesday, Aug. 21, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The field day will highlight management options to successfully add cover crops to a row crop rotation.

The field day will feature John Schwarck, a Mitchell County farmer planning to seed winter-hardy cereal rye as a late summer-seeded cover crop for the first time in 2012. Also USDA-ARS cover crop research agronomist Tom Kaspar will share insights from nearly 20 years of evaluating cereal grain and legume cover crops in Iowa. A pilot from Klinkenborg Aerial Spraying of Parkersburg will answer questions about logistics and costs of aerial-seeding cover crops into standing corn or soybean crops. Local farmers with experience managing cover crops are also invited to share their insights.

Farmers and landowners are learning more about the short- and long-term benefits of adding cover crops on their farm. Cover crops have potential to reduce soil erosion, increase soil organic matter levels, improve soil structure, protect water quality by capturing and holding fertilizer nutrients, and restrict growth of winter annual weeds in no-till crop management systems.

The field day includes a complimentary lunch provided by the Mitchell County Cattlemen. The event is free and the public is invited to attend. The field day will be held at the Schwarck farmstead, 3317 390th Street, Riceville. From Highway 9 in Riceville travel south 2.5 miles on county road T-68, then west on 390th Street (gravel road) about one mile.

Iowa Learning Farms takes a grassroots approach, offering innovative ways to help all Iowans have an active role in keeping the 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. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best in-field management practices that increase water and soil quality while remaining profitable.