AMES -- Iowa Learning Farms (ILF) and Practical Farmers of Iowa will co-sponsor a field day focusing on cover crops at the Iowa Lakes Community College student farm, west of Emmetsburg, on Thursday, Aug. 26, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event is free and the public is invited to attend. Families are encouraged to attend and see the Iowa Learning Farms' new Conservation Station mobile learning center.
Silver Lake Watershed coordinator Don Hagen encouraged the field day because of the higher amounts of crop residue being removed from area fields for livestock feed and bedding, as well as cob collection for cellulosic ethanol production, planting a cover crop can be a viable solution to keep soil erosion at a minimum.
Following a complimentary evening meal, the field day will offer information on several aspects of cover crops including: corn and soybean yield response following fall-seeded rye and other cereal grains, fall seeding and spring-kill or grazing timing, planter set-up tips for planting into a cover crop, soil quality improvement with cover crop usage, and the variety of cover crops that can be utilized. Information will also be provided about cost-share programs for cover crop usage. Speakers include Jeremy Singer with the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Iowa State University Agricultural and Biosystems engineer Mark Hanna, ISU agronomy professor John Sawyer, and Sarah Carlson with Practical Farmers of Iowa.
The ILF Conservation Station will be open as well. The Conservation Station is a new educational tool that is traveling the state to teach all Iowans about soil and water quality. Through demonstrations, pictures, computer animations, displays, video and sound, people of all ages can learn why Iowa's water and soils are precious and how they can help preserve and protect these natural resources. The station also has a rainfall simulator which illustrates the effects of rainfall on the land by collecting surface water runoff and subsurface drainage.
The field day will be held at Iowa Lakes Community College student agriculture farm, located one-half mile west of the intersection of Highways 4 and 18, three miles west of Emmetsburg. The farm is on the north side of the road.
The Iowa Learning Farm is building a Culture of Conservation, encouraging adoption of residue management and conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF staff are working together to identify and implement the best in-field management practices that increase water and soil quality while remaining profitable. Iowa Learning Farm is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Agriculture