Member Priority: Research and Demonstration

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In Iowa, cover crops are typically either aerially seeded into standing corn around the time of physiological maturity in late summer or drilled immediately following corn harvest in the fall. However, the earlier one can seed a cover crop, the more potential for growth and biomass production. An earlier seeding date also opens up the […]

January 16, 2018 


Cover crops are typically either
aerially seeded into standing crops
around the time of physiological
maturity in late summer or drilled
immediately following crop harvest
in the fall.
• In this study, two farmercooperators
evaluated spring
cover crops seeded in March
approximately 50 days before
planting soybeans later in the
Key Findings
• Cover crops seeded in late March
and terminated in late May grew up
to between 6 to 10 inches in height.
• Cover crops did not affect soybean
yields compared to where no cover
crop was seeded.



An earlier seeding date opens up
the opportunity for more diverse
cover crops like brassicas and
legumes that need more time and
heat units to grow than common
cover crops like cereal rye.
• Two farmer-cooperators
interseeded cover crops (cowpeas,
annual ryegrass, rapeseed) into
corn at the V4 stage in June. Corn
hybrids chosen exhibited vertical
and horizontal leaf orientations to
test whether more light penetrating
the corn canopy would encourage
successful cover crop establishment
and growth.
Key Findings
• Corn leaf orientation and corn
planting population did not appear
to have much of an effect on the
interseeded cover crops.
• Jack Boyer saw corn yields reduced
by an average of 24 bu/ac due to
the interseeded cover crops.

January 15, 2018 


Grazing cover crops can provide economic
returns to farming operations
within the same year cover crops are
• This study is in its third year and is
being conducted by farmers in the
North Raccoon watershed who are
participating in a Water Quality Initiative
• Utilizing cover crops as forage represents
a win-win for livestock producers
and the Iowa Nutrient Reduction
Key findings:
• Three cow-calf producers reported
that over two years, cover crops
provided up to 3.81 tons of dry
matter per acre.
• Grazing cover crops offset winter
feed expenses up to $38,953.
• Each farmer reaped economic
benefits within the same year of
planting the cover crops.
• Cost share was provided to each
farmer, which contributed to profitability.

January 4, 2018 


Dave and Meg Schmidt operate a diverse livestock farm, Troublesome Creek Cattle Co., in Exira IA; raising grass-fed and finished cattle and sheep, pigs and poultry. Feeding the 100% grass-fed cattle herd over the winter is a great expense, so they have experimented with feeding different forage sources- hay, cover crops, crop residue and stockpiled […]

December 22, 2017 


This year we are excited to offer continuing education credits (CEUs) to Certified Crop Advisors for several sessions at the PFI annual conference. Opportunities to earn 19 CEUs are offered in all four categories (nutrient management, soil and water management, crop management, and integrated pest management) throughout the short course and annual conference on January […]

December 18, 2017 


Soil health is a major theme at Practical Farmers’ 2018 annual conference in Ames Features short course on soils, Keith Berns on carbonomics, numerous soil sessions, crop advisor credits For Release: December 7, 2017 Keith Berns Brochure cover for PFI’s 2018 annual conference Soil health offerings flyer — Pg. 1 Soil health offerings flyer — [...]

December 7, 2017 


As farmers wrap up their season and plan for next, PFI’s farmer-cooperators have an additional responsibility: submit the data they collected from this year’s research trials and plan next year’s projects. The first week in December marks the annual two-day Cooperators’ Meeting where farmer members meet to discuss these research results with each other and […]

December 6, 2017 


Carmen Black and Mark Quee raise sheep on their diversified vegetable farms. They were curious if grazing a cover crop prior to a fall crop, rather than simply terminating the cover crop by mowing and tillage, would have an impact on the yield of the next crop. For this trial each farmer measured the yield […]



After completing two years of cucumber enterprise budgets, Ann Franzenburg and Emma Johnson looked at their farms and decided: “Let’s do cherry tomatoes.” For this enterprise budget, both farmers did a careful accounting of the revenue, costs, and labor for their 2017 cherry tomato crops. The analysis of their data, and their comments on varieties, […]