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Prairie strips installation field day set Thursday in Nevada

By Staff | Jul 5, 2014

NEVADA (ILF) – Iowa Learning Farms and the STRIPs research group will host a prairie strips installation field day from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Gary Guthrie farm, 58444 260th St., near Nevada.

To reach the event, from Ames go east on U.S. Highway 30 for two miles, and turn south onto 580th Ave., then two miles to 260th St., turn east and drive a quarter-mile. The event is free. A meal will be provided with the Story County Cattlemen grilling.

An RSVP is requested by contacting Iowa Learning Farms at (515) 294-8912 by Monday.

Featured topics include the process and cost of implementing prairie strips in cash crop fields and the benefits prairie strips have on increasing soil health and biodiversity, as well as nutrient reduction.

The prairie strip concept comes out of the research project “Science-based Trials of Row Crops integrated with Prairies.”

The STRIPs project is studying the effectiveness of strategically placed prairie areas on farm fields growing row crops.

On-farm research conducted at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, in Prairie City, has shown that by taking 10 percent of the field out of row crop production and planted with perennial prairie plants, reduces sediment movement off the field by 95 percent, reduces phosphorus loss by 90 percent, and total nitrogen loss reduction by nearly 85 percent The prairie strips act as buffers to reduce erosion caused by runoff and by filtering nutrients and sediment that pollute rivers and streams.

Attendees will hear from

A). Guthrie as he discusses the process of adding prairie strips to several of his fields.

B). STRIPs researcher Mary Harris, who will discuss how the integration of prairie strips in row crop fields improves insect habitats, specifically pollinators.

C). Matt Helmers, an Iowa State University agricultural and biosystems engineer, who will discuss the water quality benefits of using prairie strips. He will also talk about design and placement strategies for these prairie areas.

D). Tim Youngquist, an agricultural specialist with the STRIPs project, will discuss prairie plant species and plant diversity within the strips.

Additionally, the Conservation Station will be on display. The Conservation Station features a rainfall simulator that shows the effects that different surfaces from agricultural and urban environments have on the displacement of rainwater.

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