Cover crop field day to be held on April 2 near Dickens

March 24, 2015

Iowa Learning Farms, along with the Iowa Cover Crop Working Group and Clay County Farm Bureau, will host a field day Thursday, April 2, from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Stephanie and Matt Essick and Rich Harves farm, rural Dickens. The event is free and open to the public.
The field day will begin at the field site where the cover crop mixture of cereal rye, radish and rapeseed was aerially seeded on Sept. 2, 2014. After the program a complimentary meal will be served at the Rich Harves farmstead, located at 3880 290th St., Dickens.
Speaking at the field day are the Essicks, who will talk about adding cover crops into their crop rotation.  Also speaking is Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Field Agronomist Paul Kassel. He will review the benefits of using cover crops and provide tips for their usage in northwest Iowa. Stefan Gailans with Practical Farmers of Iowa will discuss different cover crop mixtures and the results of a five-year on-farm study using cereal rye cover crop.
The field day site is located at the corner of 410th St. and 300th Ave., rural Dickens. From Spencer, take Highway 18 east for approximately nine miles. Turn right (south) onto N14 (310th Ave). Go five miles and turn right onto 410th St. (gravel road). The field site is one mile west, at the northwest corner of the intersection.
As part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, cover crops added to a corn-soybean rotation reduces soil erosion, reduces nitrogen and phosphorus loads, and increases soil organic matter. Research has shown that cover crops can reduce nitrogen and phosphorus losses by approximately 30 percent. These crops, used in combination with other best management practices, will reduce point and nonpoint source pollution significantly in Iowa waters and downstream.
The Iowa Cover Crop Working Group promotes the use of living cover on Iowa agricultural lands. The group provides a unified voice from academy, non-profit, and industry sectors on the benefits of cover crops and encourages their use in cropping systems across the state.
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.