Cover crop, strip-tillage and water quality field day planned near Floyd on November 16th

October 26, 2017

Ames, Iowa—Iowa Learning Farms, along with Natural Resources Conservation Service and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, will host a cover crop field day on Thursday, November 16th. The 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. field day will be hosted by Ben and Andy Johnson, rural Floyd. The event is free and open to the public and includes a complementary meal.

The Johnson brothers farm together in Floyd County where they grow corn and soybeans and manage a ewe flock and feeder lamb operation. The duo began no-tilling soybeans over fifteen years ago and have nearly ten years of experience strip-tilling corn.   As participants in the Conservation Learning Lab project, the Johnsons are seeding cover crops on over 54% of the nearby research watershed acres. The 2013 crop year resulted in some prevent plant acres and they decided to give cover crops a try. Since then the Johnsons have seeded cover crops like cereal rye, rapeseed and oats on over 400 acres to help control erosion, improve organic matter and overall soil structure.

The field day will offer an opportunity to learn how labor availability and profitability have played into the Johnson’s decision to adopt the reduced tillage practices. Ben will also share their experiences with cover crops and discuss how they have overcome challenges. The agenda will continue with Matt Helmers, ISU professor and Ag and Biosystems engineer, highlighting the research behind the Conservation Learning Lab project and leading a discussion of conservation practices that can help improve soil health and water quality. Liz Juchems, Iowa Learning Farms events coordinator, share results from cover crop projects examining species selection, seeding techniques, water quality and soil health indicators like earthworms. Weather permitting, a field tour of nearby cover crop fields will conclude the program.

The field day site is located at 1170 Hwy 218, Floyd, IA. The farm is located four miles north of Floyd on Hwy 218 and is on the east side of the road.

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 ilf@iastate.edu.

For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website: http://www.iowalearningfarms.org.

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, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319), and Conserva­tion Districts of Iowa.

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