Published Jun 12, 2018

Vittetoe farm field day will explore cover crops, ways to cope with seedling disease – June 26, near Washington

By Tamsyn Jones

Mike Vittetoe 549x727

For Release: June 12, 2018


Michael Vittetoe | (319) 461-3702 |

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

WASHINGTON, Iowa — For Michael and Denny Vittetoe, cover crops are an integral part of their multi-generation row crop and hog farm near Washington. The family has been growing cereal rye for nearly six years, and also experimenting with diverse cover crop mixes and various methods of integrating cover crops in their operation. This year, about 25 percent of their farm acres have cereal rye planted.

“We strive to be good stewards of the land by using no-till and cover crops,” Michael says.

Michael and Denny will share their experiences with cover crops – both the good and the bad – at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day they are hosting on Tuesday, June 26, from 5-8 p.m., near Washington (2630 IA Hwy 92).

The event – “Thinking Outside the Box With Cover Crops” – is free to attend and will include dinner. RSVPs are requested for the meal to Debra Boekholder, or (515) 232-5661, by Friday, June 22. The field day is sponsored by Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance and Iowa Farmers Union.

Guests will learn about numerous ways to use cover crops in their operation, from a single species to diverse multi-species mixes. Michael and Denny will discuss the benefits and challenges they have experienced thus far on their cover crop journey.

They will also share details of on-farm research they have been conducting through PFI’s Cooperators’ Program. The family has been experimenting with early interseeding into corn as a way to increase cover crop species diversity and will discuss their findings so far.

“There will be hands-on access to interseeding equipment, and we’ll see a corn field that has been interseeded,” Michael says.

Another segment of the field day will explore ways to mitigate potential corn seedling disease following a cover crop. Alison Robertson, a plant pathologist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will share research her lab has conducted to understand the role of seedling disease in yield drag. She will also discuss best management strategies to reduce disease.

“We hope attendees will be able to learn from our cover cropping experiences, both good and bad, in order to expedite their learning curve on their own farms,” Michael says.

Directions from U.S. 218: Take IA Hwy 92 west toward Ainsworth. The farm is located about 5 miles west of U.S. 218 on the right (north) side of IA Hwy 92.

From Washington: Take IA Hwy 92 east out of town for about 1.5 miles. The farm is located on the left (north) side of IA Hwy 92.

Practical Farmers’ 2018 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Natural & Organic Meats; Blue River Organic Seed; Cascadian Farms; Center for Rural Affairs; Farm Credit Services of America; Gandy Cover Crop Seeders; Grain Millers, Inc.; Green Cover Seed; Green Thumb Commodities; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); ISU Extension and Outreach; La Crosse Forage and Turf Seed; MOSA Organic Certification; Natural Resources Defense Council; Organic Valley / Organic Prairie; PepsiCo; Pipeline Foods; Premier 1 Supplies; Sunrise Foods International; The DeLong Company; The Fertrell Company; The Scoular Company; Unilever; University of Iowa College of Public Health (I-CASH); USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; and Welter Seed & Honey Co.


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