Iowa State University Field Day to Highlight Sustainable, Organic Research and Practices Aug. 22

August 3, 2017, 2:52 pm | Kathleen Delate, Ed Adcock

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University’s Organic Agriculture Program will sponsor a field day devoted to organic research and production practices Aug. 22 at the Neely-Kinyon Research and Demonstration Farm near Greenfield.

The field day will start at 4 p.m. with a light supper at 5:30 p.m. The farm is located at 2557 Norfolk Avenue, Greenfield, which is two miles south of Greenfield on Highway 25, one mile east and one half mile north.

The farm is owned by the Wallace Foundation for Rural Research and Development and operated by the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The field day is supported by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

The Organic Agriculture Program has studied best management practices for maintaining high yields while enhancing soil and water quality for transitioning and certified organic farmers. Through timely weed management, longer crop rotations and appropriate manure-based fertilization the program has demonstrated comparable organic corn, soybean, oat, alfalfa, vegetable and fruit yields to conventional crops. More information about the program is available at:

The field day will begin with a farm tour of the Long-Term Agroecological Research experiment, a comparison of organic and conventional crops, and the Organic Vegetable Research (OVR) experiment, which compares performance of organic production with cover crops versus tilled and mulched systems. The OVR partnered with Bill Tracy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in a trial of organic sweet corn varieties, which are bred for insect and disease tolerance, along with excellent taste.

Cynthia Cambardella, a USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist and Iowa State associate professor, will present soil and water quality data. She has documented a 50 percent reduction in nitrate loading from organic vs. conventional systems at her Ames research site.

Mike Witt of ISU Extension and Outreach will discuss issues facing producers this summer, including insects and disease, herbicide drift and weather problems, which affected planting and potential yields from drought stress.

Denise O’Brien of Rolling Acres Farm in Atlantic will speak after dinner highlighting organic practices on her certified organic integrated vegetable/livestock farm. Since 1976, O’Brien and Larry Harris have been committed to organic production and cultivating local food. She will share tips for successful organic production and discuss this year’s growing and marketing opportunities and challenges.

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