AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms, as part of the Iowa Cover Crops Working Group, will host four cover crop workshops across Iowa in March and April to support the growing popularity of cover crops in Iowa.
When cover crops are added to a corn-soybean rotation, they can help reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, increase soil organic matter and reduce soil erosion. When cover crops are used in combination with other conservation management practices, point and nonpoint source pollution is reduced in Iowa waters and downstream. That is why cover crops are one management practice included in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Other conservation management practices include strip-tillage or no-tillage, grassed waterways, extended crop rotations, installing buffers, wetlands and bioreactors.
All workshops will be from 10 to 12:30 p.m. They are free and include a complimentary lunch. An RSVP is requested.
Topics at the workshops range from using cover crop mixtures, selecting the right cover crop for your farm, using cover crops to enhance soil and water quality, cover crop effects on soil health and more. Speakers include local farmers who are using cover crops on their fields, and specialists from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Practical Farmers of Iowa.
In addition to the workshops, a field day is scheduled for Thursday, April 3 at the Joe Kriegel farm near Malcom, Iowa. The field day runs from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The event is free and includes a complimentary lunch; RVSP by March 24 to the Poweshiek County NRCS office by calling 641-528-4115, ext. 3. Attendees will meet at the Malcom Auditorium, 212 Main Street, Malcom; then car pool to the Kriegel farm to view three cover crop sites. The group will return to the auditorium for lunch and follow-up questions.
The Iowa Cover Crop Working Group’s goal is to increase the amount of living cover on Iowa agricultural lands. The group provides a unified voice from academy, non-profit and industry sectors on the importance of cover crops and the encouragement of their use in cropping systems across the state.
For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/.