Cover Crop Field Days at Iowa State University Research Farms

AMES, IOWA — Iowa Learning Farms and Practical Farmers of Iowa are hosting a series of cover crop management field days at the five Iowa State University (ISU) Research and Demonstration Farms across the state between March 28 and April 5, 2012.

The field days will feature winter-hardy cereal rye cover crop plots drilled after corn and soybean harvests last fall. The events include a complimentary lunch for attendees. At each field day USDA Agricultural Research Service research agronomist Tom Kaspar will discuss best management practices to add cover crops into soybean or continuous corn rotations. Additionally, local farmers will share their cover crop management experiences.

Incorporating cover crops into a corn-soybean rotation may improve yields, based on 2009-2011 results of ongoing ILF/PFI winter rye cover crop demonstrations with 10 Iowa farmer partners. Cover crops such as cereal rye, oats or clover help to build soil organic matter and leave the soil surface covered when there are no cash crops growing.

The cover crop field days schedule

  • March 28: ISU Ag and Natural Resources Extension and Outreach FEEL (Field Extension & Education
    Lab) site, Boone County
    10:30 a.m.; noon lunch
    Directions: one mile south of Highway 30 on U Ave (south of United Community School) and one-half mile west on 240th Street
  • March 29: ISU Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm, O’Brien County
    10:30 a.m.; noon lunch
    Directions: 6320 500th St., Sutherland; 11 miles north of Cherokee on Highway 59 and one-quarter mile east on County Road B62
  • April 3: ISU Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm, Floyd County
    10:30 a.m.; noon lunch
    Directions: 3321 290th St., Nashua; 1.2 miles west of Nashua on Highway B60. After taking the Nashua exit off Highway 218/27, go one mile south on Windfall Ave. (gravel) and 0.2 miles east on 290th St.
  • April 4: ISU Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm, Washington County
    Noon lunch, 1 p.m. program
    Directions: 3115 Louisa-Washington Road, Crawfordsville; Go 1.75 miles south and two miles east of Crawfordsville on the Washington-Louis County Line Road
  • April 5: ISU Armstrong Research and Demonstration Farm, Pottawattamie County
    10:30 a.m.; noon lunch
    Directions: 53020 Hitchcock Ave., Lewis; 11 miles southwest of Atlantic on Highway 6, then one-half mile south on County Road M53 (525th St.) and three-quarter mile east on Hitchcock Ave.

To see the full Iowa Learning Farms field day schedule, visit the ILF website:

Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers, advancing profitable, ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture through farmer-to-farmer networking, farmer-led investigation and information sharing. Farmers in our network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For additional information, call 515-232-5661 or visit

Iowa Learning Farms is building a culture of conservation, encouraging 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 between 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, Iowa Farm Bureau and Iowa Water Center.