Webinar to Address Common Misconceptions about Drainage and Water Quality on October 19

October 7, 2016

Ames, Iowa –Iowa Learning Farms has hosted a number of field days in 2016 where farmers, landowners, agriculture professionals and many others have come together to learn about conservation farming practices. At these events, many attendees have had common questions, and sometimes common misconceptions, about water quality and drainage. Dr. Matt Helmers will explore some of these misconceptions during the Iowa Learning Farms’ monthly webinar on Wednesday, October 19. The webinar is free, and all that is needed to participate is a computer with internet access.

One common question asked at field days is what might need to change to reach our nutrient reduction goals. Helmers commented, “Many are surprised by the magnitude of change. Under some scenarios, we need on the order of 7,600 wetlands and 120,000 bioreactors on the land, in addition to cover crops on over 10 million acres.” The webinar will address common misconceptions about how various practices including nitrogen management, cover crops, and perennials work to reduce N losses. In addition, the webinar will touch on drainage practices that you might hear about more in the future such as drainage water recycling.

Helmers is the Dean’s Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University, where he has been on the faculty since 2003. His research and extension activities include studies on the impact of nutrient management, cropping practices, drainage design and management and strategic placement of buffer systems on nutrient export from agricultural landscapes. 

The Iowa Learning Farms webinars are held on the third Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. To log in, go to: https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/ at 1 p.m. on the afternoon of the webinar and log in through the “guest” option. Webinar participants can ask questions during the presentation using the chat function. The webinar will be recorded and archived on the Iowa Learning Farms website for viewing at any time at: https://www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/webinars.

ILF has hosted a webinar every month since January 2011. To date, there are 69 webinars to view on a wide range of topics including soil erosion, water quality, cover crops, and farmer perspectives.

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