Relay Intercropping Is Focus of March 7 Virtual Field Day

Participants will explore 'sustainable intensification' on Iowa's landscape

February 23, 2024, 10:19 am | Alena Whitaker

AMES, Iowa – Iowans can learn more about relay intercropping during a March 7 virtual field day hosted by Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Iowa Nutrient Research Center and Conservation Learning Group.

The web-based event starts at 1 p.m. Central time.

A new USDA-funded Conservation Innovation Grant, led by Iowa Learning Farms, is developing agronomic best practices and working to understand farmer attitudes toward relay intercropping soybean into a small grain following corn.

Relay intercropping.Relay intercropping is a form of sustainable intensification using three crops in two years, with two crops with seasons that overlap and are grown in the same field with one planted into the other before harvesting. In Iowa, the system includes corn and soybean, with the addition of small grains actively growing later in the fall and earlier in the spring than a typical corn-soybean rotation.

Speakers include Matt Helmers, professor and agricultural engineering specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center; Mark Licht, associate professor and extension cropping systems specialist; Ross Evelsizer, natural resource projects director with Northeast Iowa RC&D; and Alex Schaffer, Iowa Soybean Association research agronomist.

“This virtual field day will explore early results from the Multi-Cropping Iowa project and on-farm trials conducted by the Iowa Soybean Association,” said Licht. “We will also discuss the different components of this new grant project that are aiming to develop best management practices for the system to help farmers and landowners successfully integrate this into their operations, as well as improve our understanding of the social factors and economic issues influencing relay intercropping adoption.”

Virtual field day access instructions

To participate in the live virtual field day at 1 p.m. Central time on March 7,

The field day will be recorded and archived on the learning farms website so that it can be watched at any time.

Participants may be eligible for a Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit. Information about how to apply to receive the CEU (if approved) will be provided at the end of the event.

Shareable photo: Relay intercropping soybean and small grains. (Photo courtesy of the Iowa Soybean Association.)

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