ILF to host cover crops and prairie strips field day at McNay Research Farm

June 1, 2015

Iowa Learning Farms, along with the STRIPS project and the Iowa Cover Crop Working Group, will host a field day on Tuesday, June 16, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Iowa State University McNay Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm, rural Chariton.
Speaking at the field day are Tim Youngquist and Gary Van Ryswyck, who are involved with the STRIPS project at Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge, Prairie City. The project, Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips, focuses on planting a small percentage of a field into strips of perennial prairie plants to reduce soil erosion, water runoff, and to create habitat for pollinators. Youngquist is the farmer liaison for the project and Van Ryswyck farms the land at the Refuge.
Also speaking at the field day are Liz Juchems, ILF, and Sarah Carlson with Practical Farmers of Iowa, who will discuss the benefits of using cover crops. They will cover seeding and termination details, types of cover crops to plant and the latest research findings from on-farm yield studies. Following the speakers, a complimentary supper will be served with the Lucas County Cattlemen at the grill.
The field day is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is requested. Contact Iowa Learning Farms to be counted for the meal: phone 515-294-8912, or email:
The field day will be at the McNay Research farm, 45249 170th Ave., Chariton. From Lucas: at the intersection of Highways 65 and 34, go south four miles on Highway 65, then 2.5 miles east on 450th St./Morman Trail; turn north onto 170th Ave., and go a quarter-mile. The farm’s headquarters is on the east side of the road.
As part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, cover crops and perennial cover 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 and prairie strips, 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.