Soil health and cover crop field day planned for August 10 in near Lake Park

July 20, 2016

Ames, Iowa— Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Clean Water Alliance and Dickinson County Soil and Water Conservation District, will host a soil health and cover crop field day near Lake Park on Wednesday, August 10. The 5:00-7:30 p.m. event hosted by Jared and Mary Herbert is free and open to the public. It will begin with a complimentary dinner.

For the past 25 years, the Herberts has no-till drilled his soybeans and has started strip-tilling about half of their corn acres. “Strip-till and no-till are the right thing to do,” stated Jared. “It increases organic matter, reduces nutrient losses, preserves moisture in dry years and drastically cuts labor, machinery and fuel costs.”

Attendees will hear from Spencer Herbert, Jared and Mary’s son and soil scientist for Minnesota Department of Agriculture, about how they manage their family farm and how cover crops help improve soil health and water quality. They added cover crops to their rotation in 2010 out of curiosity and potential benefits. They seed about 240 acres each year and have used cereal rye, hairy vetch, rapeseed and radishes.

Also speaking at the field day is Doug Peterson, Natural Resource Conservation Service soil scientist, will discuss how managing for soil health can increase your farm’s potential. John Boettcher, Dickinson County farmer, will share tips for managing a corn/soybean rotation using no-till and strip-till.

The field day will conclude with a cover crop seeding demonstration using a Hagie tall-boy air-seeder. The field day will be held near the intersection of 130th Ave and Ave B West (A18/130th St) on the west edge of Lake Park. From Spirit Lake, head west on Hwy 9 for 10.5 miles. Turn right to head north on 140th Ave for 1 mile. Turn left to go west on 140th St/County HWY A18 for 0.75 miles. Take the 2nd right onto S. Market St/County Hwy A18 for .8 miles. Turn left onto Ave B W/County HWY A18 for .5 miles. Destination will be on the south of the intersection near Hunky’s Pond.

The workshop is 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

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.