Soil Health and Cover Crop Field Day at Black Hawk Lake on September 15th

August 26, 2016

Ames, Iowa—Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Sac County Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Sac County Soil and Water Conservation District and Black Hawk Lake Watershed Project, will host a soil health and cover crop field day at Black Hawk Lake in Lake View on Thursday, September 15. The 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. event at the Speaker Park Shelter House is free and open to the public. It will include a complimentary lunch.

The protection and improvement of soil are important components of long term agricultural productivity. Cover crops, no-till and strip-till reduce soil erosion and loss of nitrogen and phosphorus from the field, while also working to improve soil health. Together these practices work to build soil organic matter and increase water infiltration and storage capacity improving the ability to tolerate weather extremes.

Speaking at the field day is Michelle Soupir, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University, who is leading a water quality monitoring effort at Black Hawk Lake. Using automated samplers to collect water samples, the team is testing for the presence of nitrogen, phosphorus and suspended solids to examine the impact of land use practices at impact water quality in the 13,156-acre watershed near Lake View.

Also speaking at the field day is Mike Henderson, NRCS Agronomist, leading a discussion on the importance of soil health. The Iowa Learning Farms team will share cover crop research results and considerations for successful cover crop establishment and termination. Diane Ersce, Iowa Soybean Association, will be on hand to give an update on the Elk Run Water Quality Initiative project.

The field day will be held at the Speaker Park Shelter House, located at 5th St. and N Blossom St. on the northwest corner of Black Hawk Lake in Lake View. The field day is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Contact Iowa Learning Farms at 515-294-5429 or

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.