Nutrient reduction strategies field day to be held near Red Oak on Sept. 3

August 25, 2015

Iowa Learning Farms, along with the Walnut Creek Watershed Project, will host a field day on Thursday, Sept. 3, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the pond on Jim Bourn’s farm, north of Red Oak.
The field day will review several ways that farmers and landowners can reduce nitrates entering Iowa’s rivers and streams. The field day will begin with a complimentary supper with the Montgomery County Cattlemen at the grill. Speaking at the field day is Shenandoah farmer Chris Teachout, who will talk about adding cover crops to a corn-soybean rotation and offer tips to make the addition of this green cover go smoothly. Ann Staudt, with Iowa Learning Farms, will review the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and the recommended practices to use that will help achieve the NRS goals. Also Walnut Creek Watershed Project coordinator Dan Case will provide updates on the project.
A representative from Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will demonstrate the 360 SOILSCAN tool. This is a portable soil testing lab for nitrates in the soil. The NCRS has recently purchased several of these machines to help farmers and field staff to make decisions on nitrogen management.
The field day is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is recommended. Contact Iowa Learning Farms by Aug. 27 to be included in the meal count: phone 515-294-8912, or email: Directions to the field day site from Red Oak: go eight miles north on Highway 48, turn left (west) onto 120th Street. The cabin and pond are just west of this intersection.
Also sponsoring the field day are Montgomery and East Pottawattamie Soil and Water Conservation Districts, UFMC, and Clean Water Iowa.
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. Edge-of-field practices, such as bioreactors, buffers and wetlands, and can reduce nitrogen losses further. These best management practices will reduce point and nonpoint source pollution significantly in Iowa waters and downstream.
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.