Iowa Learning Farms to Host Four Cover Crop Field Days in September

AMES, IOWA—Iowa Learning Farms is hosting four cover crop field days this September. Each event will have a different aspect of this conservation farming practice. ILF field days are open to the public and include speakers who are experts on the field day topic as well as local farmers who are using the conservation practice.

Iowa Learning Farm field days are an opportunity for farmers to talk with other farmers and experts to gain knowledge leading to the adoption of conservation practices.

Tuesday, Sept. 9, 5-7 p.m.; Seth Watkins farm, Taylor County

Seth Watkins is using cover crops and has planted perennial prairie strips within his cash crop fields. He will talk about using both of these practices for soil health and reducing erosion. Also speaking are Iowa State University assistant professor and pollinator expert Mary Harris, ISU agriculture specialist and prairie plant expert Tim Youngquist, and NRCS District Conservationist Doug Davenport. A complimentary meal is included, with Taylor County Cattlemen at the grill.

Wednesday, Sept. 10, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Bio-Renewables Field Day at the University of Iowa miscanthus test plot, Iowa City

Join landowner Dan Black and Emily Heaton, Iowa State University assistant professor of agronomy, at this field day as they discuss the University of Iowa’s Miscanthus Pilot Project. The project is exploring the use of this grass as a biofuel on the UI campus. Ben Anderson of the UI Power Plant will explain how miscanthus is being used in its solid fuel boilers.  Enjoy a meal prepared by the Johnson County Cattlemen.

Friday, Sept. 12, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Titan Machinery, Williams

Adding cover crops to a cash crop rotation is the emphasis at this field day, co-sponsored by Farm Bureau. Iowa State University associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and extension agricultural engineer Matt Helmers will talk about the benefits of adding cover crops and the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Also, hear from an area farmer who is incorporating cover crops.

Wednesday, Sept. 17, 12-2 p.m.; Dennis Lundy farm, Adair County

This field day will explore ways to add cover crops and also no-tilling alfalfa following wheat through extended crop rotations. Host farmer Dennis Lundy and his neighbor Wendell Zimmerman will share how they are using cover crops on their farms. Although they are using them in different ways, both farmers are reducing soil erosion and increasing soil health. Iowa Water Center Director and ISU Agronomy Professor Rick Cruse will discuss erosion in Iowa’s fields and how cover crops and other practices can reduce this problem. Enjoy a meal prepared by the Adair County Cattlemen.

RSVP encouraged
All field days are free and include a complimentary meal, but an RSVP is encouraged. To RSVP to any of the field days, contact Iowa Learning Farms, 515-294-8912 or via email: to be included in the meal count.

PHOTO: Seth Watkins planting prairie strips