AMES, Iowa — How can cover crops, strip-tillage, tile drainage systems, small grains and woodchip bioreactors benefit the soil and enhance production in corn and soybean systems? Come find out at Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2013 annual conference, “Soil and Soul,” taking place Jan. 10-12 at the Iowa State Center Scheman Building, on the Iowa State University campus in Ames.
Several sessions at this year’s event — which celebrates the vital role that soil plays in sustaining life — focus on field crops and management strategies for both conventional and organic systems that can save time, boost profits and build soil health while protecting water quality.
The “Cover Crops 101” session, offered in partnership with Iowa Learning Farms, will benefit farmers thinking about planting cover crops for the first time as well as veteran cover crop growers. Rob Stout, an ILF farmer partner who farms near Washington, Iowa, will teach practical ways to add cover crops to corn and soybean systems and integrate them into no-till systems. Plant physiologist Tom Kaspar, with the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, will share the latest research on how adding a small grain cover crop can improve soil quality while reducing soil erosion and nitrate leaching.
“I like what cover crops do for the soil,” said Stout, who has been farming for 35 years and planted tillage radish, oat and clover cover crops this fall. “When you get good growth from the cover crop roots it makes the soil looser. There’s also less erosion and cover crops increase organic matter. Soil is the real deal when it comes to raising crops, so anything we can do to improve soil is good — and cover crops make sense from a soil standpoint.”
The conference is open to the public, and registrations are being accepted now. Those who pre-register by Jan. 2 will save $10 per day. Register online at http://practicalfarmers.org/events/annual-conference.html or by contacting Patrick Burke at email@example.com or 515-232-5661. Special rates are available for students and PFI members.
Other field crop sessions at the conference, several offered in partnership with ILF, include:
To access the full conference program, registration details or to register online, visit http://practicalfarmers.org/events/annual-conference.html.
Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2013 annual conference is supported by several major sponsors, including AgVentures Alliance, Albert Lea Seed, Bio-Till, Calcium Products, Inc., Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iroquois Valley Farms, Klinkenborg Aerial Spraying, Inc., the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and Maschio Gaspardo.
Contact: Tamsyn Jones, Practical Farmers of Iowa, 515-232-5661, firstname.lastname@example.org