Soil Health Workshop at Carolyn Nelson’s Farm in Ionia, Iowa
This soil health workshop will go from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM at 1465 170th St. in Ionia, Iowa. The registration deadline is March 31, 2017. The workshop will be held on April 3, 2017.
Please contact Sarah Merrifield for questions. She’s available at (641) 394-2174 and email@example.com.
Furthermore, Iowa is in the early years of implementing the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS), a science-based plan that will take decades to accomplish. Experience and research has shown that it can take more than one in-field or edge-of-field practice to reach nutrient reduction goals. In tile-drained landscapes, nitrate is a key focus. Therefore, the combination of practices needed to reduce nitrate loss may include cover crops, adaptive management of nutrient application rates and timing, along with practices like bioreactors or saturated buffers.
As a result, local watershed planning is essential to determine the right combination of practices for each field and each farm as an integrated system that best meets local watershed and priority resource needs.
Farmers, conservation experts and scientists are working together to perfect and scale up practices known to reduce nutrients in water. Depending on conditions on a particular farm, it’s possible for farmers to be using more than one practice. In general, producers make decisions within the context of their total operations’ profitability.
There are annual practices and longer-term practices. To learn more about soil health and water quality solutions at work, please visit here.
About ISU Extension and Outreach’s Land-Grant Mission:
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach carries Iowa State’s land-grant mission throughout the state — everywhere for all Iowans.
They serve as a 99-county campus, connecting the needs of Iowans with Iowa State University research and resources.
They provide education and partnerships because they wish to solve today’s problems and prepare for the future.
Cover Crop Field Day for Corn and Soybeans
Practical Farmers of Iowa and farmer Russ Brandes will host a cover crop field day on Tuesday, April 4, from noon to 3 p.m., at Russ’ farm near Hancock (37333 Mahogany Rd., 6 miles west of town).
The event is part of Practical Farmers’ 2017 spring cover crop “caravan” field day series, which features events at locations across Iowa exploring cover crop issues in grazing and row crop systems.
Russ operates Brandes Farms Inc., a 400-acre corn and soybean operation that incorporates cover crops and some alfalfa. He also has a small cow-calf herd and hogs.
The field day will start with lunch at noon, provided by Russ. After lunch, guests will head to the field. Here, Russ will share his experience with planting cover crops using his corn and soybean planter; managing spring cover crops; growing cover crop seed; and variety selection for summer cover crops. Colten Catterton, of Green Cover Seed, will also be on hand to discuss and answer questions about choosing varieties for summer cover crops.
Farmer Russ Brandes’ Experience Planting Cover Crops Using His Corn and Soybean Planter
“I’d like to be able to show the practices I do that people might not have thought of,” Russ says. “For example, I use my corn and bean planter to plant my rye, and I don’t know that everyone is aware you can do something like that.”
“I am certainly no expert, but I base my practices on what I hear. Also on what I read and my gut feelings about the whole thing. By hosting this field day, other farmers who learn the same way I do can get to know more about cover crops and some unique practices they might want to try.”
The event – “Cover Crops for Corn and Soybeans” – is free to attend and includes lunch. Please RSVP for the meal to Alisha Bower, firstname.lastname@example.org or (515) 232-5661, by Friday, March 31.
Cover Crop Field Day in Leighton, Iowa
Practical Farmers of Iowa and farmer Ward Van Dyke, in partnership with Mahaska County Soil and Water Conservation District and Muchakinock Creek Watershed Project, will host a cover crop field day on Thursday, April 6, from noon to 3 p.m., at three locations in the Leighton area. Ward raises primarily corn and soybeans on about 2,000 acres. He practices no-till and reduced tillage and incorporates cover crops.
The event – “Cover Crops for Corn and Soybeans” – is free to attend and will start with lunch at noon, supplied by Ward. It is located at the Leighton town hall (306 Otley St., Leighton). Please RSVP for the meal to Alisha Bower, email@example.com or (515) 232-5661, by Monday, April 3.
After lunch, guests will caravan together to the second stop – one of Ward’s fields, located at 1233 205thSt. (about 4 miles northwest of the Leighton town hall). Guests will get to see a cereal rye cover crop that Ward planted last fall in a fertilizer application and incorporated with vertical tillage. Also, Ward will share his experience with different ways of planting cover crops, as well as how cover crops have affected water quality, soil loss, and phosphorus and potassium loads on his farm.
To learn more about these water quality and soil health solutions at work visit IAWA’s webpage.
Farmer Steve Berger and Scouting Cover Crops
Steve Berger, who farms near Wellman, will also speak at this stop. He’ll talk about how to scout cover crop fields to assess the health and success of the stand. Then, attendees will get to participate in a scouting activity.
Ward has learned by attending field days hosted by other farmers. He wants to extend the same opportunity to others. “I hope others can learn from my successes and my mistakes, and that I can learn from the other presenters. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. How do we change management to make these [practices] work?”
From there, the group will caravan to the third stop – a field operated by farmer Arvin Vander Wilt. This field is located between Leighton and Pella (1938 Bayard Ave., about 4.5 miles from Ward’s field). Arvin is a partner with Mahaska Soil and Water Conservation District. He has an oat-rye cover crop mix planted on his crop fields that attendees will get to view. Jason Steele, area resource soil scientist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, will use a rainfall simulator to show how soil cover and roots in the ground affect soil properties.
For directions and more information visit PFI’s site here.
To learn more about cover crops and other solutions at work visit IAWA’s webpage.
Iowa Watershed Approach partners will join the Upper Iowa Watershed Management Authority (WMA) for their quarterly meeting.
For directions and more info:
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) workshop for women
Women who own or manage farmland in Mahaska and surrounding counties are invited to participate.
Successful Cover Crop Use in Beef Production
Producers may attend one or both upcoming ‘Successful Cover Crop Use in Beef Production’ field days. They are on Tuesday, April 11 in Northwest Iowa.
“There will be two field days in two locations in one day,” said Erika Lundy. Lundy is a Beef Program Specialist with the Iowa Beef Center, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach.
“The morning session will focus on using stocker cattle to graze cereal rye, and the afternoon program will look at using cover crops for cow-calf grazing. Both programs offer benefits to beef producers and both programs will outline some best management practices.”
The morning field day will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the ISU Allee Demonstration Farm located at 2006 240th Street, Newell. Featured speakers include ISU Extension and Outreach agronomy field specialists, Joel DeJong and Mike Witt, as well as beef field specialist, Beth Doran.
Rebecca Vittetoe is an ISU Extension and Outreach agronomy field specialist. She added, “In addition to the grazing focus, we will also discuss cover crop termination and management going into corn. Mark Hanna is an ISU Extension and Outreach Agricultural Engineer. She will also talk about planter settings and managing row crops planted into cover crops.”
Michael Henderson, Area 1 Agronomist with Natural Resources Conversation Service, will also be discussing cost share options and crop insurance considerations when integrating cover crops into a row crop system.
Following the Allee field day, producers may travel to the Mark Schleisman Farm located at 1635 365th Street, Lake City, for a complimentary lunch and the afternoon field day from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Cover Crop Planting and Grazing Strategies for Cow-Calf Production
Further, the afternoon portion will focus on cover crop planting and grazing strategies for cow-calf production; cover crop economics; herbicide considerations for grazing and establishing cover crops; and soil compaction.
There is no cost for either field day thanks to the sponsorship of ISU Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Beef Center, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Practical Farmers of America; however, individuals RSVP please.
For more information, visit the Iowa Beef Center website.
Grazing Cover Crops Field Day in Lake City, Iowa
Practical Farmers of Iowa will host a cover crop grazing field day on Tuesday, April 11, from noon to 3 p.m., near Lake City (1635 365th St., a few miles west of town), at the farm of Mark Schleisman.
Mark farms more than 2,000 acres at M & M Farms, a diversified family farm that includes corn, soybeans, popcorn, popcorn-field-corn hybrid seed, hogs and a cow-calf operation. The family uses cover crops on at least 1,000 acres.
The event – “Grazing Cover Crops” – is free to attend and will start with lunch, supplied by Mark, from noon to 12:30 p.m. Please RSVP for the meal to Alisha Bower, firstname.lastname@example.org or (515) 232-5661.
Further, the event is part of Practical Farmers’ 2017 spring cover crop “caravan” field day series, which features events at locations across Iowa exploring cover crop issues in grazing and row crop systems.
After lunch, guests will then head to the field to see Mark’s cows and calves grazing a mix of diverse cover crops planted in late summer 2016.
Planting and Grazing Strategies with Cover Crops
Mark will also share his experience with planting and grazing strategies; cover crops as a nutritional forage source; how he deals with compaction from cattle; and the economic benefits of grazing covers.
“In addition to the soil benefits, grazing cover crops has been a valuable source of fall, winter and spring cow feed,” Mark says.
Producers are also invited to attend a related field day in the morning – “Successful Cover Crop Use in Beef Production” – from 9:30-11:30 a.m., hosted by ISU Extension at the ISU Allee Demonstration Farm near Newell (2030 640th St., about 34 miles northwest of Mark’s farm).
The event is free and will focus on using stocker cattle to graze cereal rye, among other topics.
Directions to M & M Farms: Mark’s farm is located 3 miles west of Lake City on IA Hwy 175, or 4.5 miles east of Auburn on IA Hwy 175; the farm is at the top of the hill on the south side.
Southfork Watershed Alliance Meeting
Southfork Watershed Alliance Background
The South Fork of the Iowa River is one of Iowa’s most picturesque streams. This tributary together contains some of Iowa’s most productive land. The watershed area is predominately used for intensive agricultural production – both row crop and livestock. There are concerns about water quality in this watershed. Primarily, as a result of the impact of agricultural production and management practices of the watershed.
The Southfork Watershed Alliance represents a broad cross-section of the watershed’s agriculture business, governmental and community leaders who address water quality issues in the watershed in a comprehensive manner. The members of these working groups believe it is critically important to address water quality issues. On a proactive and voluntary basis, we must address these issues. The health of the watershed has significant long-term economic and quality of life implications for the area and its residents. Grassroots effort designed to identify problems and encourage the near-term implementation of soil and nutrient best management practices will serve our area better than any top-down plan.