While it was certainly chilly at the recent ILF-PFI-ISU Extension and Outreach cover crop field day held on October 26th, participants braved the cold to learn about the promise of winter cover crops. The field day was held at the Pete and Jerry Crew farm near Webb, IA. Pete lead a great discussion about their strip-till and cover crop management and spoke to the benefits of getting winter cover on the ground in relation to improving soil quality, organic matter levels and protecting water quality.
Sarah Carlson, research and policy director with Practical Farmers of Iowa, provided a wealth of information about fall-seeded winter cover crops including pointers for crop selection, seeding rates and techniques, management considerations, and termination advice. Both Carlson and Crew fielded questions from the audience before heading back inside and out of the wind.
On the way in, field day participants stopped by the Iowa Learning Farms Lil’ Conservation Station trailer where ILF Field Coordinator Aaron Andrews gave a short simulated rainfall demonstration featuring a newly acquired fall seeded cover crop tray with winter rye and oats broadcast into standing soybeans. Once inside, ISU Extension Agronomist Paul Kassel provided a drought update and reviewed some important management considerations for next year’s crops.
On the way home we stopped by a field day participant’s farm East of Mallard to check out his impressive cover crop mix of tillage radish, turnip, winter pea, fava bean and more!
Be on the lookout for 3 more cover crop field days happening on October 30th, 31st and November 8th!