AMES, Iowa – The Iowa Learning Farm is hosting a field day at the Rob and Jean Stout farmstead, rural Washington, Iowa. The evening event will be on Wednesday, Aug. 8, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend. A complimentary meal will be provided featuring the Washington County Cattlemen Association courtesy of QUALISOY™.
Stout, a cooperator with the Iowa Learning Farm, planted no-till soybean plots with and without Cruiser® seed treatment. Observations on these plots will be presented and discussed. Value-added crop opportunities including low-linolenic soybeans and cover crop applications will also be discussed. Iowa State University (ISU) Extension Water Quality Engineer Dr. Matt Helmers will demonstrate the Iowa Learning Farm’s conservation systems rainfall simulator.
ISU Extension Field Agronomist Jim Fawcett is helping to organize the event. “Since first being discovered in the Midwest in 2000, soybean aphids have tended to be more of a concern in odd numbered years, so this may be more of a pest this year than last,” said Fawcett. “Seed applied insecticides can provide good early season bean leaf beetle control and also provide some control of soybean aphids, especially when planting is delayed as it was this spring.”
The Iowa Learning Farm project takes a grassroots approach by developing innovative ways to help all Iowa citizens have an active role in keeping our state’s natural resources healthy. The project promotes active learning by involving producers as partners in addressing water quality challenges. It also expands local leadership by facilitating, encouraging, and strengthening the role of community conservationists, involving a broad set of partners and agencies.
“When I first started farming on my own in 1979, we had a heavy spring rain and there was bad erosion. I figured we needed to change that, so I went to field days and meetings,” commented Stout. “No-tillage was new. I studied, checked out what others were doing and made adjustments. My ethics were that it was the right thing to do and I was going to try it and stick with it until it worked. I was committed to making it work—committed to leaving the soil better than I found it. I think I have. Now, the easy changes have been made. The early folks have embraced conservation. The future change is going to be harder."
ISU County Extension Education Directors Gene Mohling, Washington County, and Gary Bickmeier, Keokuk County, are also helping to organize the field day. “Keokuk County is lucky to have Iowa Learning Farm participants on both sides of the county—the Stouts in West Chester and John Kielkopf in Hedrick. On-farm driven research adds value to research results,” stated Bickmeier.
The Aug. 8 field day will be held at Stout’s ILF plot, approximately one mile north of his farmstead. The Farmstead is located at 2449 Hemlock Ave., 2.5 miles south on W-38 (Hemlock Ave) from Highway 92 at West Chester, in Washington County.
Other upcoming Iowa Learning Farm field days include Aug. 21 in Adair County; and Aug. 23 in Ringgold County.
The Iowa Learning Farm’s focus is helping strong conservationist farmers teach other farmers about systems that will improve the quality of the soil and water on their farms, while remaining profitable and sustainable. The Iowa Learning Farm is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa National Resources Conservation Service, Iowa Department of Natural Resources; in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa and Iowa Farm Bureau.