Farmers will learn about the benefits and new opportunities for cover crops this month at several field days across Iowa.
Cover crops continue to grow in popularity in Iowa due to their many benefits, including reduced soil erosion, potential weed suppression, improved infiltration, reduced nutrient losses, increased soil organic matter and more.
Nashua, Nov. 11
Iowa Learning Farms, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Nutrient Research Center will host a cover crop field day on Thursday, Nov. 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Borlaug Center near Nashua.
This field day will focus on new research funded by the Iowa Nutrient Research Center examining the potential for using perennial ground cover like Kentucky bluegrass, as well as cereal rye and early interseeded cover crop mixtures in a corn system to reduce runoff, enhance soil organic matter and reduce nitrogen leaching.
Kanawha, Nov. 16
Iowa Learning Farms and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host a cover crop field day on Tuesday, Nov. 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Iowa State University Northern Research Farm near Kanawha.
This field day will focus on new research examining the potential for early interseeded cover crops like cowpeas and cereal rye, as well as mixtures in a corn system to reduce runoff, enhance soil organic matter and reduce nitrogen leaching.
Walcott, Nov. 17
Iowa Learning Farms, along with the Iowa Nutrient Research Center, IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering, Iowa Geological Survey and Partners of Scott County Watersheds will host a cover crop field day on Wednesday, Nov. 17 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Mike Paustian’s farm near Walcott.
In addition to utilizing no-till and minimum till, the Paustians have added cover crops to hold soil in place while scavenging nutrients from the soil and fall-applied manure.
Their goal is to build long term soil health and organic matter in their fields and improve water quality. In the past two years, they have increased their use of cereal rye and oats to cover nearly all of their acres.
Taking the next step to reduce nitrate loss from their farm, the Paustians installed a saturated buffer just north of their home in 2018.