Iowa Learning Farms to host spring cover crop management workshops

February 1, 2016

Ames, Iowa— Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Iowa Cover Crop Working Group, will host six cover crop workshops this spring in Cerro Gordo, O’Brien, Black Hawk, Johnson, Mahaska, and Pottawattamie counties. The workshops are free, open to the public, and include a complimentary meal.

Cover crops continue to grow in popularity in Iowa due to the many benefits they provide. Such benefits include reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, increased soil organic matter, and reduced soil erosion.  Fall 2015 was a good season for cover crop establishment and growth, with adequate moisture and growing temperatures.  Great fall growth helped protect the soil during the heavy rain events, but could present challenges this spring if farmers are not prepared with a termination plan and equipment adjustments.

These cover crop workshops will help prepare producers for spring management of cover crops and allow time for discussion to answer questions from new and experienced cover crop users.  Topics at the workshops range from herbicide recommendations for termination and establishment, planter settings to handle higher amounts of biomass, cover crop seed selection, cover crop effects on soil health and more. Speakers include experts from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Practical Farmers of Iowa and USDA-ARS National Soil Tilth Laboratory.

Cover crop workshop dates and locations include:  

February 23: Ventura Community Center, 12:30-2:30pm
4 North Weimer Street, Ventura, IA  50482  

February 24: ISU Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm, 10:30am-12:30pm
6320 500th Street, Sutherland, IA 51058  

February 25: Hawkeye Community College, 10:30am-12:30pm
Tama Hall, Room 102; 1501 E Orange Rd, Waterloo, IA 50701
In partnership with Miller Creek Water Quality Improvement Project  

March 1: The Celebration Farm, 10:30am-12:30pm
Timber Frame Barn; 4696 Robin Woods Ln NE, Iowa City, IA 52240
In partnership with Rapid Creek Watershed Project  

March 2: Mahaska County Extension Office, 10:30am-12:30pm
212 North I Street, Oskaloosa IA 52577  

March 3: Armstrong Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm, 10:30am-12:30pm
53020 Hitchcock Avenue, Lewis, IA 51544  

Workshops are 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 ilf@iastate.edu.  

For details on the workshops, and 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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