Extension News

Iowa Learning Farm Offers Planter Clinic

2/11/2009

AMES, Iowa -- Converting a traditional planter to adapt to no-tilled fields isn’t as costly and difficult as some might think. The Iowa Learning Farm is hosting a planter clinic at Iowa Lakes Community College, Emmetsburg, on March 4, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, to demonstrate how to convert to a no-till planter.

The clinic will include a presentation by local NRCS staff about the benefits of no-till and residue management, a demonstration by Mark Hanna, Iowa State University Extension agricultural engineer, on how to convert to a no-till planter and a panel discussion with farmers who practice no-till. The clinic will be held in the campus auditorium and the planter demonstration will be held in the shop building.

The planter is the key for no-tillage as it is likely the only machinery that moves the soil for seed placement. Seed depth and seed-to-soil contact are keys to emergence when planting through residue, says Hanna. The benefits of no-till are numerous. Equipment needs are minimal, labor costs are reduced and there is less soil compaction when field passes are eliminated. Also organic matter builds in the soil over time. The farmer panel at this clinic may address some of these issues and how they overcame the barriers to no-till.

The planter clinic is open to the public and there is no charge for the event. Registration begins at 9:30. Participants are welcome to stay for lunch, courtesy of the Iowa Learning Farm, and network with other attendees. For more information about the clinic, contact Farm Conservation Liaison Erin Harpenau, (515) 509-4768, or email at erinharp@iastate.edu.

Iowa Learning Farm is a partnership of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources; in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa and the Iowa Farm Bureau.

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Contacts :

Carol Brown, Iowa Learning Farm, (515) 294-8912, cbrown1@iastate.edu

Erin Harpenau, ILF conservation liaison, 515-509-4768