A wetland construction site is seen in aerial view. The cleared-out site is surrounded by farmland.

From wet spot to wetland

Partnerships lead to new water quality feature at DMACC Dallas County Farm By Adam Sodders ADEL, Iowa (IAWA) – A once-troublesome mud puddle in a Central Iowa farm field has been transformed into one of the state’s newest water quality wetlands. The new wetland was completed in January at the DMACC Dallas County Farm near Adel.[…]

Iowa farmers use “water quality toolbox”

Proven practices find success on Iowa farms, benefit downstream neighbors   By Dan Looker, IAWA Writer Iowa (IAWA) – Seven years ago Jon Bakehouse of Hastings, Iowa, started planting cover crops where he grows corn and soybeans with his father. Switching to no-till farming in the 1990s improved water filtration in wet spots on their West[…]

Iowa N Initiative hits the airwaves

DES MOINES, Iowa (IAWA) – Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance Executive Director Sean McMahon hit the airwaves this week to talk about the Iowa N Initiative – a program helping Iowa farmers dial in their fields’ fertilizer needs. McMahon was joined on The Big Show’s “Clean Water Wednesday” by Melissa Miller of The N Initiative.   The[…]

Farmers back clean water research

By Dan Looker Two farmer-led organizations in Iowa have a long history of research-based work—the Iowa Soybean Association and Practical Farmers of Iowa. For 11 years, ISA has run its own water lab – the Research Center for Farming Innovation (RFCI) – testing thousands of samples from streams and drainage tiles each year. Nitrates and[…]

Tools to track nutrient reduction progress

By Dan Looker Iowa (IAWA) – Iowans can track nutrient reduction progress using two sources: the Iowa Nutrient Research and Ed­­­­­ucation Council (INREC) and Iowa State University’s online reporting dashboard. INREC conducts statistically reliable surveys of ag retailers each year, meeting with agronomists to pick 1,000 representative locations. Other sources rely on data from government[…]

Nutrients in farming: What are they and why do we need them?

By Dan Looker, IAWA Writer Iowans have heard a lot about nitrogen fertilizer in recent years. Nitrogen and phosphorus are the two key nutrients that the state is working to manage better through the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. In May, the Strategy will be a decade old. As that anniversary nears, it’s worth taking a[…]

Some soil health gains can happen fast

And other surprising facts about regenerative farming By Dan Looker, IAWA contributor AMES, Iowa (IAWA) – Building healthy soil takes work, investment, and time. It can be years before tests show increases in stable organic matter and benefits are seen… at least, that’s a common belief among many people. But that’s not quite right, says[…]

Soil, water conservation practices increase profitability for S.E. Iowa farmer

By Dan Looker, IAWA contributor WASHINGTON CO., Iowa (IAWA) – In southeast Iowa, sixth-generation farmer Brian Hora has seen great improvements in soil health and input savings after starting no-till in 1978 and cover crops in 2013. Weed suppression from planting into growing cereal rye, a cover crop, has eliminated the need for residual herbicides[…]

Stream restorations are part of the equation to reducing nutrients in Iowa water 

NORTH RACCOON WATERSHED, Iowa (IAWA) – Many farmers have old oxbow scars on their properties, but they don’t even realize it. Restoring them can make a big difference for water quality.   Oxbow scars are “u-shaped” stream beds that fill with eroded sediment. They often end up being wet spots in a field that have consistently[…]