AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with West Branch of the Floyd River Watershed Project, will host a cover crop and soil health field day Wednesday, Sept.13, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The field day will be held at Jonathon and Crystal Kiel’s farm, rural Orange City. It is free, open to the public and includes a complimentary meal.
The Kiels have been farming west of Orange City for 10 years. They raise corn and soybeans, pasture graze cows and calve each year. For the last five years, the Kiels have used cover crops on all of their 320 crop acres. Using a wide variety of cover crops, their main goals are to improve soil health and encourage nutrient cycling. Their recent adoption of no-till was also motivated by improved soil health, but also the cost reductions compared to conventional tillage. Kiel will discuss the transition to no-till and tips for adding cover crops to farm land.
Mark Licht, cropping specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will lead a field day discussion on improving soil health with practices that reduce soil erosion. Iowa Learning Farms events coordinator Liz Juchems will share results from cover crop projects examining species selection, seeding techniques, water quality and soil health indicators like earthworms. West Branch of the Floyd River Watershed coordinator Colton Meyer will provide project updates and highlight opportunities to get involved.
The field day will be held at the Kiel Farm, 4449 Hickory Ave, Orange City. From Orange City, head west on IA-10/450th Street for four miles. Turn right to head north on Hickory Avenue for 0.6 miles. The farm will be on the west side of the road.
The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. RSVP to Sioux County NRCS office at 712-737-2253 Ext. 3 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colton Meyer, West Branch of the Floyd River Watershed Coordinator, 712-737-2253 Ext. 301