AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Clean Water Alliance and Dickinson County Soil and Water Conservation District, will host a soil health and cover crop field day Wednesday, Aug. 9 near Spirit Lake. The 5-7 p.m. event hosted by John and Kristy Boettcher is free and open to the public. It will begin with a complimentary dinner.
Farmer, host and speaker John Boettcher began strip-tilling corn and no-tilling soybeans eighteen years ago to reduce time constraints in the spring when establishing seed crops and has continued to use the practices for soil conservation benefits. In 2013, Boettcher added cover crops to his operation as a way to improve soil health and reduce soil erosion. Using a variety of species, his goal is to mimic the benefits of alfalfa in the rotation ahead of corn while also providing a feed source for his livestock through grazing.
Natural Resource Conservation Service soil scientist Doug Peterson will discuss how managing for soil health can increase your farm’s potential. Iowa Learning Farms researchers Ann Staudt and Liz Juchems will share results from cover crop projects examining species selection, seeding techniques, water quality and soil health indicators like earthworms.
The field day will be held at the Boettcher farm: 2208 130th Street, Spirit Lake. From Spirit Lake at Hwys 71 and 9, head west on IA-9 for three miles. Turn right on IA-86N for two miles. Turn right to head east on 130th Street and keep right to stay on 130th Street for about 1.7 miles. Tent will be located on the south 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 email@example.com.
John Wills, Clean Water Alliance coordinator, 712-336-3782 ext 3