AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms will host two on-farm cover crop field days April 4 and 5. The first is in Dayton and includes a focus on grazing beef cattle; and the second is in Bode, with a focus on conservation planning.
The first event, Tuesday April 4, is from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at A.J. and Kellie Blair’s farm near Dayton. The free event is open to farmers and landowners and includes a complimentary meal.
Cover crops offer many benefits to farmers and landowners including reduced soil erosion, weed suppression potential, reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, and increased organic matter in the soil. When paired with grazing, cover crops add an additional food source for cattle or other animals on the farm.
A.J. and Kellie Blair, Iowa Learning Farms farmer partners, will share their experiences with cover crops and grazing beef cattle. Angie Rieck-Hinz, field agronomist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will discuss termination of cover crops after grazing and methods to terminate if not grazing. Russ Euken, beef specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, will speak about grazing beef on cover crops.
The field day will be held at the Blair Farm, 3531 Paragon Avenue, Dayton. From Dayton, head west on IA-175 then turn right to go north on Paragon Avenue for about 1 mile. The farm is located on the west side of the road and field day signs will mark the driveway to enter.
The second event, April 5, will run from noon to 2 p.m. at Matt and Nancy Bormann’s Farm near Bode.
Matt and Nancy Bohl-Bormann, Iowa Learning Farms farmer partners, will share their experiences with cover crops and whole farm conservation. Angie Rieck-Hinz will discuss different conservation practices and how to work those into leases. Ann Johanns, program specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, will speak about planning for conservation leases and the Ag Decision Maker. Brian Tumey, soil conservationist with NRCS in Algona, will present the rainfall simulator highlighting rainfall on different soil management effects.
The Bormann Farm is located at 1307 130th Ave., Bode. From Algona, travel 6 miles south on Highway 169. Turn east on blacktop B58 (150th St.) for 1 mile and travel south 1 mile on 130th Ave. The farm is on the west side of the road.
Both events are free and open to farmers and landowners, though reservations are required to ensure adequate space and food. For reasonable accommodations and to RSVP, contact Alena Whitaker at 515-294-2473 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Attendees will be entered in a drawing for Iowa State Prairie Strips honey.
Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit www.iowalearningfarms.org.