AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms, along with Practical Farmers of Iowa, will host two cover crops field days in early November. Field days will be held in Amana Nov. 7 and near Plainfield Nov. 12. The events will focus on cover crops for soil health as part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Both events are free and the public is invited to attend.
The Amana field day will be held at the Iowa Artists Theatre Company, Amana, on Thursday, Nov. 7, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The field day includes discussion with Amana Farm manager John McGrath, Washington County farmer Steve Berger, and Marshall County farmer Wade Dooley, who are all using cover crops on their acres. Dooley will also share his experiences with grazing on cover crops. Practical Farmers of Iowa’s Midwest Cover Crops Research Coordinator Sarah Carlson will talk about how cover crops work to reduce erosion as a part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Rose Danaher with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide updates on the Price Creek Watershed Project as well as cost share opportunities for cover crops.
The field day will be held at the Iowa Artists Theatre Company, 2709 220th Trail, Amana. Presentations, discussion and a complimentary lunch will be at the Theatre. After lunch, weather permitting, there will be an opportunity to view cover crops on farms in the Price Creek Watershed. From the Amana Colonies exit from I-80, go north on highway 151 approximately six miles to the intersection with Highway 6 (Grand Army Highway). Turn right (east), keep following highway 151 to Amana. In Amana, turn right onto 220th Trail. The Theatre is on the east end of town.
The field day will be held at the Rick Juchems’ farm near Plainfield, on Tuesday, Nov. 12, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The event includes discussion with host Rick Juchems and Floyd County farmer Jon Gisleson, who are both using cover crops on their acres. They will share their experiences and discuss how cover crops work as a part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Iowa State University (ISU) Agronomy Professor Rick Cruse will review cover crops and their impact on reducing soil erosion. After a complimentary lunch, ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomist Terry Basol will be on-hand to answer questions about preventative planting and guide interested folks to a nearby site that has a cover crop mix of oats, tillage radish and hairy vetch.
The Rick Juchems farm is located at 33635 110th St, Plainfield, Iowa. From Plainfield, go three miles north on IA-27/US-218 N/Badger Avenue. Take a left on 110th St/C13 and travel 0.7 miles. The farm is the first homestead on the north side of the road. Parking is available on the west side of the house and the field day will be held in the heated shop.
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 the network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For additional information, call (515) 232-5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org.
Iowa Learning Farms takes a grassroots approach offering innovative ways to help all Iowans have an active role in keeping our state’s natural resources healthy and not take them for granted. A goal of Iowa Learning Farms is to build a culture of conservation, encouraging the 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. For more information, go to: www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf.