Iowa Learning Farms field day June 23 in Ida County

June 9, 2015

Iowa Learning Farms, along with the STRIPS project and the Iowa Cover Crop Working Group, will host a field day on Tuesday, June 23, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Donna Buell farm, rural Holstein.
 
The STRIPS project, Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips, is at Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge, Prairie City. The project 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. Iowa farmers are now applying this conservation practice on their own fields for the benefits that the research results have shown.
 
Speaking at the field day is host farmer Andrew Nees, who is a tenant of landowner Donna Buell. He will share his experience with the installation of perennial prairie strips within the corn-soybean fields, which were planted in the summer of 2014. The farm has been converted to organic and the addition of the perennial plants helps this ecosystem. Nees currently farms organically with his father and Buell is helping Nees get started on his own. Tim Youngquist, STRIPS project farmer liaison, will discuss details of installing prairie strips as well as the benefits that this conservation practice offers.
 
Also speaking is Mark Johnson, Iowa State University Extension Field Agronomist, and Ida County farmer Jerry Sindt. They will discuss using cover crops in a cash crop rotation. Cover crops along with prairie strips can be a good combination to reduce soil erosion, use nitrogen, and to build carbon and organic matter in the soil.
 
The field day site will be on the Donna Buell farm where the prairie strips are located, northeast of Holstein. From Holstein, go north on Highway 59 about one mile; turn right (east) onto D15 (140th St.) and go two miles. The field site is on the southeast corner of Harvest Ave. and 140th St.
 
Following the speakers, attendees can enjoy a complimentary supper. The field day is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is requested by June 19. Contact Iowa Learning Farms to reserve a place for the meal: phone 515-294-8912, or email: ilf@iastate.edu.
 
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: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/.
 
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.
 
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