Relay Intercropping Field Day to be Held at Russell Farm

Best management practices for establishing and managing a relay intercropping system

May 3, 2023, 1:58 pm | Elizabeth Ripley

AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms will host a relay intercropping field day on Thursday, June 1 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Jason Russell’s farm near Monticello. The free event is open to farmers and landowners and includes a complimentary meal.

The field day aims to equip attendees with best management practices for establishing and managing a relay intercropping system designed to improve soil health and reduce nutrient losses while increasing productivity and profitability. The relay intercropping system begins following corn with the seeding of winter wheat or rye. The soybean crop is planted into the winter wheat/rye the next spring and the winter wheat/rye is harvested for grain in June. Following soybean, oats are planted as a cover crop ahead of corn.

Intercropping.The field day will feature a field visit with farmer/host Jason Russell to take a closer look at his relay intercropping system and discuss best management practices for the system. Mark Licht, associate professor in agronomy and extension cropping systems specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will discuss how relay intercropping systems can be integrated into existing rotations and highlight how to successfully manage the system based on current research.

Ross Evelsizer, Northeast Iowa RC&D natural resource projects director, will share results from local relay intercropping cereal rye and soybeans trials. Erin Erickson, Maquoketa River Watershed Management Authority watershed coordinator, will share opportunities to get involved, and staff from the Center for Rural Affairs will provide resources and updates related to crop insurance and relay intercropping.

The Russell farm is located at 234 Prairie Main Road, Monticello, 52310. From Monticello, head west on County Road E16/Prairie Hills Road for 10 miles. Turn right to head north on Frozen Hill Road for 1 mile. Turn left to head west on Prairie Main Road and the farm is located on the south side of the road.

The event is free and open to farmers and landowners, though reservations are required to ensure adequate space and food. For reasonable accommodations and to RSVP, contact Liz Ripley at 515-294-5429 or Attendees will be entered in a drawing for Iowa State Prairie Strips honey.

The field day is held in partnership with ISU Extension and Outreach, Northeast Iowa RC&D, Maquoketa River Watershed Management Authority and the Rodale Institute. Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit

Shareable photo: Intercropping of rye and soybeans.

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