AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms, along with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will host a cover crop field day at the ISU Extension and Outreach Buena Vista County office in Storm Lake, Iowa, on Friday, Nov. 1. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and the program will start at 10:30 a.m. The field day will wrap up at the cover crop trial plots located northeast of Storm Lake. The field day will focus on cover crop management for soil health and grazing.
Cover crops are an excellent resource as part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy to help protect Iowa’s water quality. They reduce soil and nutrient runoff and build soil organic matter. The plots in Buena Vista County consist of a mixture of cereal rye, tillage radishes and turnips, and were aerially seeded into standing corn and soybeans. The plots are part of the North Raccoon River Watershed project to improve water quality within the watershed. The field day is an opportunity to learn about growing cover crops mixtures and their costs and benefits.
Speakers for the field day include Iowa Learning Farms soil scientist Jill Motschenbacher and ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomist Paul Kassel. ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist Beth Doran will talk about the benefits and cautions in grazing on cover crop acres. Anita Patrick, with Natural Resources Conservation Service, will discuss cost share opportunities for growing cover crops. After lunch, attendees may travel to the cover crop trial site to see the growth of the cover crop mix. Kris Kohl, ISU Extension and Outreach agricultural engineer, will discuss the cover crop trial plots and answer questions.
The field day is free and includes a complimentary lunch. The public is invited to attend. The field day is sponsored by Iowa Learning Farms in cooperation with ISU Extension and Outreach in Buena Vista County. The Buena Vista Extension office is located at 824 Flindt Drive, Storm Lake. The field trial plots are located east of Storm Lake, one mile north of the intersection of county roads C49 and M50.
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.
Iowa Learning Farms is a partnership of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319); in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa, the Iowa Farm Bureau and the Iowa Water Center.