Field day will explore how farmers can make cover crops work on their land – Nov. 16, near Nashua

For Release: November 2, 2016

NASHUA, Iowa — Adding cover crops to farmland can offer numerous benefits, from improving soil health and reducing weed pressure to improving the quality of water entering local waterways. But finding the best way to integrate cover crops isn’t as straightforward. Because each farm is unique, farmers need to figure out how to make cover crops work for them.

Helping farmers answer that question is the goal of a field day on Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., near Nashua, organized by Practical Farmers of Iowa in partnership with Iowa Learning Farms, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Chickasaw County, the Chickasaw County Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Chickasaw County Farm Bureau.

The event is free to attend and will take place at the Bradford House Motel (2733 Cheyanne Ave., about 2 miles northeast of town). Lunch is included, but RSVPs are requested for the meal. Please contact Val Horner at (641) 394-2174 or [email protected] by Friday, Nov. 11.

Attendees will learn strategies for making cover crops work on their farms and hear from two area farmers – Rick Juchems, who farms near Plainfield, and Dan Dietz of Nashua – about how they successfully implemented cover crops on their land. The question “what is soil health?” will be discussed, and attendees will get to see an NRCS rainfall simulator showing the role soil health plays in reducing flooding and improving water quality.

Sarah Carlson, Midwest cover crops director with Practical Farmers, will discuss results from PFI on-farm research trials. During lunch, guests will hear perspectives on cover crops from a panel of speakers, including farmers Rick and Dan; a local pilot with Klinkenborg Aerial Spraying and Seeding; and ISU Extension agronomist Terry Basol.

After lunch, the group will view a cover crop plot across the street from the motel that was seeded by Dan. The plot walk will provide an opportunity to view different kinds of cover crops and learn more about the methods Dan used to establish cover crops in the field.

“Working with cover crops is not hard, and they offer important benefits like weed control,” Rick says. “On a field where I’ve continually had waterhemp problems, I let the cereal rye grow up about 3 feet tall or more. Then I planted soybeans, and this year in those soybeans I had no weed problems.”

Directions: The Bradford House Motel is located just east of Nashua, on Cheyanne Avenue / IA Hwy 346.

Each autumn, Practical Farmers of Iowa partners with various organizations to hold a series of farmer-led events that explore fall grazing and cover crop issues. All field days are free and occur rain or shine.

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Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit http://practicalfarmers.org.

Contacts:

Sarah Carlson | Midwest Cover Crops Director | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | [email protected]

Tamsyn Jones | Communications Specialist | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | [email protected]