Published Mar 22, 2018

Field day will explore cover crops for grazing – April 5, in Cumberland and Atlantic

By Tamsyn Jones

For Release: March 22, 2018


Zak Kennedy | Kennedy Cattle Company | (712) 779-0006 |

Tamsyn Jones | Outreach & Publications Coordinator | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |

CUMBERLAND, Iowa — Practical Farmers of Iowa and farmer Zak Kennedy will host a cover crop grazing field day on Thursday, April 5, from noon to 3 p.m. at two locations in the Cumberland and Atlantic areas.

The field day is free to attend and includes lunch. RSVPs are requested for the meal to Debra Boekholder, or (515) 232-5661.

The event is part of Practical Farmers’ 2018 spring cover crop “caravan” field day series, which features events at locations across Iowa exploring cover crop issues in grazing and row crop systems.

The field day starts with lunch at noon at the Cumberland Community Building (200 E 2nd St., in town), after which guests will caravan to one of Zak’s feed yards in rural Atlantic (64646 660th St., about 5 miles northwest of the community building) to see cows grazing cereal rye and learn about Zak’s experience with cover crops.

Zak operates Kennedy Cattle Company with his wife, Emily, and brother, Mitch. The farm consists of 1,300 row crop acres, 100 acres of hay, a cow-calf enterprise and three feed yards. The family farms on highly erodible ground, once farmed by Zak’s grandparents, and grazing cover crops doubles as both an economical practice and a strategy for conserving their farmland.

During the field day, guests will learn how Zak grazes cows, calves and yearlings on cover crops. He will discuss the grazing potential of varied fall planting dates, as well as planting triticale and rye for chopping in May – which is then stored and fed back to cattle in the feed yards.

Zak was also involved in an on-farm research project with Practical Farmers using tea bags to assess soil health, and will discuss the project and what he has learned on his farm.

“The purpose of the field day is to show how livestock and crop farmers can benefit from integrating cover crops, which help us to cut costs and increase production our land,” Zak says.

In addition, Dave York, district conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, will visually demonstrate how cover crops affect soil health with the NRCS rainfall simulator.

Directions: Meet at the Cumberland Community Building by 12:30 p.m. to caravan to the feed yard.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2018 spring cover crop field days are supported by Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Pepsi and Unilever.


Practical Farmers of Iowa works to equip farmers to build resilient farms and communities. Our values include: welcoming everyone; farmers leading the exchange of experience and knowledge; curiosity, creativity, collaboration and community; resilient farms now and for future generations; and stewardship of land and resources. To learn more, visit