Cover crops field day to be held near Grinnell on March 24th

AMES, Iowa—Iowa Learning Farms, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and Poweshiek County Soil and Water Conservation District will host a cover crop field day on Tuesday, March 24 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Roger Van Donselaar’s Farm. The event is free, open to the whole family and includes a complimentary meal.

Cover crops continue to grow in popularity in Iowa due to their many benefits, reduced soil erosion, weed suppression potential, reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, and increased soil organic matter. Fall 2019 was another difficult harvest season, with the priority on getting the crop in the field there was limited time to complete fall tillage. Cover crops and no-tillage work together to help increase water infiltration and reduce erosion during the heavy rain events. This field day aims to equip attendees with a good termination plan and best management practices to maintain yields during the transition to a higher residue system of no-tillage and cover crops.

The workshop agenda will begin with a panel discussion with host farmer Roger Van Donselaar and Mike Phillips, Poweshiek County farmer. Roger has been using no-till on his corn and soybean farm for nearly 30 years and added cover crops to the system six years ago to help with reduce herbicide usage and control erosion. As Roger states, “Cover crops do the tillage for you!”

Rebecca Vittetoe, Iowa State Extension Agronomist, will provide cover crop termination considerations and best management practices for setting up your planter to handle more residue this spring. Liz (Juchems) Ripley, Iowa Learning Farms conservation and cover crop outreach specialist, will then share results from cover crop projects examining species selection, water quality implications, and soil health indicators such as earthworms.  Myriam Lafreniere-Landry, Watershed Coordinator with Poweshiek NRCS/SWCD, will provide a brief update on the project, available cost-share programs and opportunities to get involved. Weather permitting, there will be a short tour of cover crops nearby following the program.

The field day will be held in a heated shop at Roger Van Donselaar’s Farm, 511 6th Avenue West, Grinnell. The shop and bin site are located on the north side of the road, just west of Grinnell Health Care Center.

The workshop is free and open to the whole family, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. For reasonable accommodations and to RSVP please contact Liz Ripley at 515-294-5429 or ilf@iastate.edu

Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit www.iowalearningfarms.org.

Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation by encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable. Partners of Iowa Learning Farms include the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land StewardshipIowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable AgricultureIowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319) and GROWMARK, Inc.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

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