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Cover crops, prairie strips field day set

By Staff | Jun 17, 2015

AMES – Iowa Learning Farms, along with the STRIPS project and the Iowa Cover Crop Working Group, will host a field day from 5:30-7:30 p.m. June 23 at the Donna Buell farm, rural Holstein.

The Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips project is operated through the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge, Prairie City. The project focuses on planting a small percentage of a field into strips of perennial prairie plants to reduce soil erosion and water runoff, and to create habitat for pollinators. Iowa farmers are now applying this conservation practice on their own fields for the benefits that the research results have shown.

Speaking at the field day is host farmer Andrew Nees, tenant of landowner Donna Buell. He will share his experience with the 2014 installation of perennial prairie strips within the corn-soybean fields. The farm has been converted to organic and the addition of the perennial plants helps this ecosystem. Nees currently farms organically with his father and is establishing his own farm operation with Buell’s assistance. Tim Youngquist, STRIPS project farmer liaison, will discuss details of installing prairie strips as well as the benefits that this conservation practice offers.

Also speaking are Mark Johnson, field agronomist with Iowa State University Extension, and Ida County farmer Jerry Sindt. They will discuss using cover crops in a cash crop rotation. Cover crops along with prairie strips can be a good combination to reduce soil erosion, use nitrogen and to build carbon and organic matter in the soil.

The field day site will be on the Donna Buell farm where the prairie strips are located, northeast of Holstein. From Holstein, go north on Highway 59 about one mile; turn right (east) onto D15 (140th St.) and go two miles. The field site is on the southeast corner of Harvest Ave. and 140th St.

Following the speakers, attendees can enjoy a complimentary supper. The field day is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is requested by June 19. Contact Iowa Learning Farms to reserve a place for the meal by calling 515-294-8912 or email ilf@iastate.edu.

For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website, www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/.

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