The use of cover crops on Iowa farm fields is growing. Cover crops offer many benefits including slowing erosion, helping with nutrient management, and building organic matter in the soil.
To help farmers understand how cover crops work and the best management practices for including them in rotations, Iowa Learning Farms (ILF) has developed several resources to learn more. ILF has held numerous field days and workshops across Iowa offering techniques and pointers from successful farmers and cover crop experts. There are more workshops in the planning stages for 2014.
A new video, “Cover Crops: Farmer Perspectives” is now available from Iowa Learning Farms. This video features seven Iowa farmers who are using cover crops on their agricultural fields. They offer their perspectives on four cover crop topics: why they grow cover crops; how to get started, seeding methods, and management; growing cover crops for seed; and grazing cover crops.
The goal of the video is to provide those interested in adding cover crops with lessons learned from other farmers to possibly avoid some of the “rookie” mistakes when trying cover crops.
“From our experience hosting field days and talking with farmers, we know that the farmer-to-farmer dialogue is the most effective. Farmers want to hear from others with experience,” says Nathan Stevenson. He oversaw the production of the video along with Liz Juchems, both ILF team members. Anderson Production Services handled the filming and editing.
The featured farmers include: Gary Nelson, Webster County; Barry Kusel, Carroll County; Tim Smith, Wright County; Jeremy Gustafson, Boone County; Larry Haren, Webster County; Rick Juchems, Butler County; and Wade Dooley, Marshall County.
In 2011, ILF produced another cover crops video, “Adding a Cover Cop to a Corn-Soybean Rotation,” featuring cover crop expert Sarah Carlson with Practical Farmers of Iowa. Both videos are on the ILF YouTube channel, along with all the ILF videos. All of the Iowa Learning Farms videos are available on DVD at no cost by request:
Adding a Cover Crop to a Corn-Soybean Rotation
Cover Crops: Farmer Perspectives
Converting Your Planter for a No-till Operation
Strip-Tillage Crop Management
Manure Management and Conservation
From Gully to Grass: Implementing Grassed Waterways
Building A Culture of Conservation.
To request a DVD, contact ILF, email: firstname.lastname@example.org; be sure to include which DVD you are requesting and a mailing address. Or write to: Iowa Learning Farms, 219A Davidson Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011. For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website: www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/.
Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation, encouraging adoption of residue management and conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best in-field management practices that increase water and soil quality while remaining profitable. Iowa Learning Farms is a partnership between 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); in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa, the Iowa Farm Bureau, the Iowa Water Center and Practical Farmers of Iowa.