AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms will host a cover crop workshop on Tuesday, Dec. 3 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Titan Machinery in Grundy Center, in partnership with the Black Hawk Creek Watershed Project, Grundy County Soil and Water Conservation District, Clean Water Iowa, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Natural Resources Conservation Service. The event is free, open to the entire family and includes a complimentary meal.
The workshop will feature Grundy County farmers Fred Abels and Dale Launstein sharing their experiences with cover crops and how they have successfully integrated them into their farming operations. Kay Stefanik, Iowa Nutrient Research Center assistant director, will demonstrate how to use nitrate test strips to collect water quality information for your personal use on the farm and highlight practices listed in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy that help improve water quality. Ann Staudt, ILF manager and content specialist, will share results from cover crop projects examining species selection, water quality implications and soil health indicators such as earthworms.
The field day will be held at Titan Machinery, 23604 Diagonal Rd, Grundy Center. The event is free, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Please RSVP to Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover crops continue to grow in popularity in Iowa due to their many benefits including reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, and increased soil organic matter. Together with no-till and strip-till, cover crops can significantly reduce soil erosion and encourage infiltration of water during rain events. Converting to no-till and strip-till can also help improve profitability by reducing costs and time spent in the field.
Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Photo credit: NRCS/SWCS photo by Lynn Betts.