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Soil health, cover crop dield day at Black Hawk Lake set Sept. 15

By Staff | Sep 7, 2016

AMES Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Sac County Natural Resource Conservation Service, Sac County Soil and Water Conservation District and Black Hawk Lake Watershed Project, will host a soil health and cover crop field day from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, at 5th Street and North Blossom Street on the northwest corner of Black Hawk Lake in Lake View.

The event at the Speaker Park shelter house is free and includes a complimentary lunch. Reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Contact Iowa Learning Farms at (515) 294-5429 or ilf@iastate.edu.

The protection and improvement of soil are important components of long term agricultural productivity. Cover crops, no-till and strip-till reduce soil erosion and loss of nitrogen and phosphorus from the field, while also working to improve soil health. Together these practices work to build soil organic matter and increase water infiltration and storage capacity improving the ability to tolerate weather extremes.

Speaking at the field day is Michelle Soupir, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University, who is leading a water quality monitoring effort at Black Hawk Lake.

Using automated samplers to collect water samples, the team is testing for the presence of nitrogen, phosphorus and suspended solids to examine the impact of land use practices at impact water quality in the 13,156-acre watershed near Lake View.

Also speaking is Mike Henderson, NRCS agronomist, leading a discussion on the importance of soil health.

The Iowa Learning Farms team will share cover crop research results and considerations for successful cover crop establishment and termination.

Diane Ersce, with the Iowa Soybean Association, will be on hand to give an update on the Elk Run Water Quality Initiative project.

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