Published Mar 21, 2018

Field day will explore cover crops in corn and soybeans – April 4, near Postville

By Tamsyn Jones

Elsbernd Farm Photo 727x409

For Release: March 21, 2018


Don Elsbernd | (563) 419-0732 |

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

POSTVILLE, Iowa — Practical Farmers of Iowa and farmer Don Elsbernd will host a cover crop field day on Wednesday, April 4, from noon to 3 p.m. on Don’s farm near Postville (809 Pole Line Road, about 7.5 miles north of town).

The field day – “Cover Crops for Corn and Soybeans” – is free to attend and will start with 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.

Don farms with his son, Eric, raising corn, soybeans, cover crops and some alfalfa hay on 1,150 acres in Allamakee and Winneshiek counties. Cover crops are an important part of the Elsbernds’ strategy for protecting soil health on their farm.

“We want to do everything we can to prevent erosion on our farm, and we want to build resiliency into our soils,” Don says.

Part of the field day will explore the basics of cover crop management, such as planting, termination and soil and water quality benefits of cover crops.

Guests will also learn about some more advanced cover crop practices, such as delayed termination of cover crops before soybeans and corn, and interseeding cover crops into corn and soybeans.

“We will see examples of interseeded and dormant-seeded cover crops before corn, and side-by-side soybean fields with two different fall cover crop planting dates,” Don says. “I hope we can encourage attendees to think about how cover crops could fit into their operation.”

In addition, soil scientist Neil Sass, with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, will discuss the soil science of cover crops – including topics such as how cover crops affect soils’ aggregate stability, organic matter levels and water infiltration. He will also visually demonstrate the soil health impacts of cover crops.

Participants are invited to bring a soil sample from their farm, labeled with their name and contact information. NRCS has offered to take these samples and test the soils’ aggregate stability.

Directions: From Postville, go north on state Route 51 for about 4.5 miles and turn left on County Road W4B / Frankville Road. Drive 1.5 miles to the first gravel road, which will be Pole Line Road; turn right (north) and go another 1.5 miles. The farmstead and shop where the field day will start will be on the right (east) side of the road.

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