Nov. 16 Cover Crop, Strip-tillage, Water Quality Field Day Planned near Floyd

October 26, 2017, 9:18 am | Liz Ripley

AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms, along with Natural Resources Conservation Service and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, will host a cover crop field day on Thursday, Nov.16. The 10 a.m. to noon field day will be hosted by Ben and Andy Johnson, rural Floyd. The event is free and open to the public and includes a complimentary meal.

The Johnson brothers farm together in Floyd County where they grow corn and soybeans and manage a ewe flock and feeder lamb operation. The duo began no-tilling soybeans more than 15 years ago and have nearly 10 years of experience strip-tilling corn. As participants in the Conservation Learning Lab project, the Johnsons are seeding cover crops on more than 54 percent of the nearby research watershed acres. The 2013 crop year resulted in some prevent plant acres and they decided to give cover crops a try. Since then the Johnsons have seeded cover crops like cereal rye, rapeseed and oats on more than 400 acres to help control erosion, improve organic matter and overall soil structure.

The field day will offer an opportunity to learn how labor availability and profitability have played into the Johnsons' decision to adopt the reduced tillage practices. Ben will also share their experiences with cover crops and discuss how they have overcome challenges. The agenda will continue with Iowa State University professor and Ag and Biosystems engineer Matt Helmers highlighting the research behind the Conservation Learning Lab project and leading a discussion of conservation practices that can help improve soil health and water quality. Liz Juchems, Iowa Learning Farms events coordinator, will share results from cover crop projects examining species selection, seeding techniques, water quality and soil health indicators like earthworms. Weather permitting, a field tour of nearby cover crop fields will conclude the program.

The field day site is located at 1170 Highway 218, Floyd, Iowa. The farm is located four miles north of Floyd on Highway 218 and is on the east side of the road.

The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or email

For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website:

About the Authors: 

Liz Ripley

Iowa Learning Farms and Water Rocks!