GRINNELL, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Poweshiek County Soil and Water Conservation District will host a cover crop field day March 24 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Roger Van Donselaar’s Farm. The event is free, open to the family and includes a complimentary meal.
Cover crops continue to grow in popularity in Iowa due to their many benefits: reduced soil erosion, weed suppression, reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, and also increased soil organic matter.
Cover crops and no-tillage work together to help increase water infiltration and reduce erosion during heavy rain events. This field day aims to equip attendees with a good termination plan and best management practices to maintain yields during the transition to a higher residue system of no-tillage and cover crops.
The evening will begin with a panel discussion with host farmer Roger Van Donselaar and Mike Phillips, Poweshiek County farmer. Van Donselaar has been using no-till on his corn and soybean farm for nearly 30 years and added cover crops to the system six years ago to help with reduced herbicide usage and to control erosion.
Rebecca Vittetoe, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach, will provide cover crop termination considerations and best management practices for setting up your planter to handle more residue this spring.
Liz (Juchems) Ripley, Iowa Learning Farms conservation and cover crop outreach specialist, will then share results from cover crop projects examining species selection, water quality implications, and soil health indicators such as earthworms.
Myriam Lafreniere-Landry, watershed coordinator with Poweshiek NRCS/SWCD, will provide a brief update on the project, available cost-share programs and opportunities to get involved. Weather permitting, there will be a short tour of cover crops nearby following the program.
The field day will be held in a heated shop at Roger Van Donselaar’s Farm, 511 6th Ave. West, Grinnell. The shop and bin site are located on the north side of the road, just west of Grinnell Health Care Center.
Reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. For reasonable accommodations and to register, contact Ripley at 515-294-5429 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.