Cover crop and soil health field day June 16 near Solon

June 7, 2016

Ames, Iowa—Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Rapid Creek Watershed Project and Iowa Soybean Association, will host a cover crop and soil health field day on Thursday, June 16, from 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. at the Timber Frame Lodge off the Lake Macbride Trail, in Solon. The event is free and open to the public, and includes a complimentary meal.

The field day will honor the conservation work of the late Tom Wall who farmed corn and soybeans for 33 years, as well as managed wean to finish hog operation near Iowa City. Citing soil conservation and cost savings as the main factors, he used no-till practices for both corn and soybeans.  In 2013, he added cereal rye and turnip cover crops to the operation to help with soil conservation and improve soil health. 

Speaking at the field day is Matt Liebman, Professor in the department of Agronomy at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach (ISUEO) who will discuss incorporating small grains and perennial forage into row crop rotations. Washington County and Iowa Learning Farms farmer partner, Steve Berger will share his experiences with incorporating cover crops into his no-till system. Jason Steele, Area Resource Soil Scientist for Iowa Natural Resource Conservation Service will lead a demonstration and discussion on soil quality and soil health. The Conservation Station rainfall simulator will also be on hand to demonstrate the effects of rainfall on different agricultural and urban land use scenarios through the collection of water runoff and subsurface drainage.

The field day will be held at the Timber Frame Lodge off of the Lake Macbride Trail east of the Lakeview Elementary School in Solon.  From Highway 1 in Solon, take 180th St NE (5th St) west for 0.6 miles.  Turn north on Racine Ave and go 0.3 miles, passing the Solon High School. Take the first left past St. Mary’s Catholic Church and follow the field day signs to the lodge. 

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

For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website:

Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation, 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 are the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319), Conserva­tion Districts of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Water Center and Practical Farmers of Iowa.