Field Day in Floyd, Iowa, Discussing Cover Crop Experiences and Challenges
Iowa Learning Farms, along with Natural Resources Conservation Service and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, will host a cover crop field day on Thursday, November 16th. The 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. field day will furthermore be hosted by Ben and Andy Johnson, rural Floyd. The event is free and open to the public and includes a complimentary meal.
Currently, the Johnson brothers farm together in Floyd County where they grow corn and soybeans and manage a ewe flock and feeder lamb operation. The duo began no-tilling soybeans over fifteen years ago and have nearly ten years of experience strip-tilling corn. As participants in the Conservation Learning Lab project, the Johnsons are seeding cover crops on over 54% of the nearby research watershed acres. Resulting, the 2013 crop year had some prevent plant acres and they decided to give cover crops a try. Since then the Johnsons have seeded cover crops like cereal rye, rapeseed and oats on over 400 acres. This has helped control erosion, improve organic matter and overall soil structure.
The field day will offer an opportunity to learn how labor availability and profitability have played into the Johnson’s decision to adopt the reduced tillage practices. Ben will also share their experiences with cover crops and discuss how they have overcome challenges.
The agenda will continue with Matt Helmers, ISU professor and Ag and Biosystems engineer. Helmers will highlight the research behind the Conservation Learning Lab project. Also, he’ll lead a discussion of conservation practices that can help improve soil health and water quality. Liz Juchems, Iowa Learning Farms events coordinator, will also share results from cover crop projects examining species selection, seeding techniques, water quality and soil health indicators like earthworms. If weather permitting, a field tour of nearby cover crop fields will conclude the program.
Field Day Location
The field day site is located at 1170 Hwy 218, Floyd, IA. The farm is located four miles north of Floyd on Hwy 218. Further, it is on the east side of the road.
For more information about Iowa Learning Farms visit their website.