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, firstname.lastname@example.org 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.