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Iowa Learning Farms set field day

By Staff | Jun 5, 2009

The Iowa Learning Farms, along with the Woodbury and Plymouth County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, will co-host a field day at the Lewis Byers farm near Pierson, in northern Woodbury County. The field day will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., June 11.

The field day will be at the Byers’ farm, located at 3823 110th St., Pierson. The farm is approximately three-fourths of a mile north of the intersection of county roads D-12 and L-25, northeast of Pierson.

The field day will focus on cover crop usage and will include several presentations about cover crop management. Jeremy Singer, research agronomist with the National Soil Tilth Lab, will discuss cover crop establishment timing as well as planting methods and types of cover crops. Mark Hanna, Iowa State University Extension agricultural engineer, will offer equipment pointers for planting crops into rye cover. There will be a discussion about the effects of winter rye on crop nutrient cycling, especially nitrogen fertilizer requirements of corn planted after rye.

This will be led by Joel DeJong, ISU field agronomist, and by Jerry Sindt, Woodbury County District Conservationist.

Additionally, there will be a question and answer session with Byers. He is one of four area farmers who seeded winter rye by air last fall and then planted into the cover crop this spring. Byers will talk about the aerial seeding process, observations from this first year and future plans.

Cover crops are plants that cover the soil and supplement the growing season of annual grain crops. Adding a cover crop to a rotation has several long-term benefits such as reduction in nutrient losses, reduced soil erosion and improved soil structure.

Planting cover crops in the fall after cash crop harvest helps protect the soil and recycles nutrients to subsequent crops. Typical cover crops are rye, oats, wheat, barley and triticale.

The field day includes a complimentary evening meal. The event is free and open to the public and will be held rain or shine. An RSVP is requested by calling the Woodbury NRCS/SWCD office at (712) 943-6727; or the Plymouth NRCS/SWCD office at (712) 546-8858.

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