Iowa Learning Farms to host winter cover crop workshops

January 18, 2017

Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will host five cover crop workshops this winter in Floyd, Linn, Marion, Sioux and Hardin 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 their many benefits, reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, increased soil organic matter and reduced soil erosion. Fall 2016 was another good season for cover crop establishment and growth, with adequate moisture and warm growing temperatures. Great fall growth can help protect the soil during the heavy rain events, and equipped with a good termination plan and equipment adjustments, farmers can minimize any potential yield impacts.

At the beginning of the workshop, facilitators will invite questions and concerns from the participants. For the remainder of the workshop, Matt Helmers, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, and Mark Licht, assistant professor of agronomy, will address the topics and questions raised by the participating farmers and landowners. They will also be prepared to discuss herbicide recommendations for termination and establishment, planter settings to handle higher amounts of biomass, cover crop seed selection, impacts on crop yields and soil health and more.

“These workshops will allow participants to discuss topics of importance with peers. In doing so, the educational program can be tailored to the needs of the audience,” states Helmers on beginning the workshops with questions and discussion. “As an Extension Specialist my time is my clients and this allows us to make sure we are addressing questions clients and stakeholders have.”

Workshop dates and locations include:

  • February 22, 12:30-2:30 p.m.: Borlaug Learning Center, ISU Northeast Research Farm, 3327 290th St, Nashua, IA
  • February 23, 12:30-2:30 p.m.: Central City American Legion Post 421, 6 Central City Rd, Central City, IA
  • February 28, 12:30-2:30 p.m.: Marion County Extension Office, 210 N Iowa St, Knoxville, IA
  • March 8, 12:30-2:30 p.m.: Dordt College Commons Dining Hall, 498 4th Ave NE, Sioux Center, IA
  • March 9, 12:30-2:30 p.m.: St. Paul Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, 1105 Washington St, Eldora, IA

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: www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/events.

Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms has become a trusted source of conservation information and research while helping to build a Culture of Conservation by 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), Conserva­tion Districts of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau, and Iowa Water Center and Practical Farmers of Iowa.

--30--