AMES, Iowa – Organic farmers and those interested in the industry can tune into a new podcast recorded by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
Kathleen Delate, professor and extension organic specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, interviews four organic farmers and an organic researcher engaged in organic technologies that may offer some value in organic operations. As with all technology, the benefits of technological innovations must be evaluated along with any trade-offs, which are explored in this podcast.
Among the podcast innovators, Seth Harbecke, who farms organically with his family in western Illinois, addresses the advantages of utilizing data tracking technologies like FieldView™. Seth believes this computer and smartphone app has helped with monitoring correlations between soils, weather and yields on many fields on their organic farm.
Another innovator, Levi Lyle, farms organically in Washington, Iowa. From weed zapping to organic no-till, Lyle highlights the latest tools and production practices he utilizes to help manage weeds in his organic system. Scott Shriver, who farms 2,000 organic acres in Jefferson, Iowa, shares in the podcast how he uses tractor steering guidance systems, like RTK, and provides a detailed explanation of how the technology works and how it can benefit larger organic operations. Michael O’Donnell, crop specialist with Grain Millers in Indiana, and the farm certification manager for the 4,000-acre organic Living Prairie Family Farm in northwest Indiana, describes how he has been helping perfect organic strip tillage and other innovations.
Finally, Brad Heins, professor of organic animal science at the University of Minnesota, talks about his dairy management technologies – from robotic milkers to bio-sensors which improve breeding success and herd management for organic producers. He concludes with CowVacs, for natural fly management, and their research on automated calf feeders.
The “Innovations in Organic Ag” project will also host a Zoom webinar on “Robotic Weeders” April 20, at 9 a.m. Bo Melander, agroecology professor from Aarhus University in Denmark, will discuss the use and opportunities for robotic weeders in organic agriculture.
Registration is limited to 100 participants due to Zoom restrictions. Participants are asked to include their email address upon registration, to receive an archived version in the event registration is full. Register at: https://forms.gle/mTZnULKuintNjXh6A
This program is supported by the Organic Center, the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research, and ISU Extension and Outreach. Additional information on Iowa State’s Organic Ag Program is available online.