Cover Crop and Soil Health Field Day near Melbourne

Area farmers will hear about best management practices for cover crops

August 3, 2022, 10:06 am | Liz Ripley

AMES, Iowa—Iowa Learning Farms, Marshall County Soil and Water Conservation District, USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Iowa Land Improvement Contractors Association (LICA), will host a cover crop and soil health field day Thursday, Aug. 25, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the LICA Farm near Melbourne. The free event is open to farmers and landowners and includes a complimentary meal.

Cover crops continue to gain popularity in Iowa due to their many benefits, 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 no-tillage, additional benefits include increased water infiltration and reduced erosion during heavy rain events. This field day aims to equip attendees with best management practices for establishing cover crops and maintaining yields during the transition to a higher residue system of no-tillage and cover crops.

Cover crops.Fayette County farmer Loran Steinlage has been experimenting with different cover crop species on his farm over the past few years utilizing the longer establishment window provided by harvesting winter cereal rye for seed. He also has experience with companion/relay no-till cropping and currently produces corn, soybeans, cereal rye, winter wheat, malt barley and buckwheat. Attendees will be able to hear from Steinlage about his experiences.

Marshall County NRCS will offer some hands-on soil health demonstrations that farmers can utilize in their own fields. Liz Ripley, Iowa Learning Farms conservation and cover crop outreach specialist, will share results from on-farm cover crop demonstration trials and best practices for establishing and managing your cover crops.

The field day will be held at the LICA Farm, located at 1723 290th St., Melbourne, rain or shine. The farm is located on the north side of the road and field day signs will mark the driveway to enter.

The event is free and open to farmers and landowners, though reservations are required to ensure adequate space and food. For reasonable accommodations and to RSVP, contact Liz Ripley at 515-294-5429 or 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

Shareable photo: Field of cover crops.

About the Authors: 

Liz Ripley

Iowa Learning Farms and Water Rocks!