The Iowa Chapter of the Land Improvement Contractors Association hosted an “edge of field practice” field day September 13 at their demonstration farm east of Melbourne. Edge of field practices like saturated buffers, wetlands and bioreactors are key to further reducing nitrate loss from agricultural land in Iowa. The LICA demonstration farm was established in 2003. Each year LICA members volunteer to build more structures on the farm as examples for other contractors and the public. This year a saturated buffer was built. In a saturated buffer, tile water from adjacent cropland is routed by a control box (center of picture) and tile running laterally along the buffer and before it reaches a nearby outlet, such as a pond in this case, or a stream. The plants in the buffer help remove nitrate through denitrification and buffer plant uptake as water seeps through the buffer. Together with in-field practices like cover crops and no-till, these edge of field practices will - over time - help achieve the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy goals. Also sponsoring the field day was the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, Iowa Learning Farms, the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association. Photo by Rick Robinson.
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