On Wednesday, October 23rd, the Iowa Learning Farms partnered with the Lake Geode Watershed, Iowa NRCS and Practical Farmers of Iowa to hold a cover crop field day on the Southeastern Community College Campus. Over sixty people turned out to tour the cover crop plots on the campus managed by SCC agricultural instructors Chuck Albright and Adam Raub, who were on hand to provide details about the seeding applications, rates, and varieties. Local NRCS field staff provided general advice on management and crop choice, but encouraged producers to stop in and discuss their goals for the cover crops to see the best results. Area farmers Tim Knutson and Jim Pilling also led a discussion about using cover crops in southeastern Iowa.
The plots included a variety of species including cereal rye, oats, rye grass, turnips, radish, hairy vetch, and clover. Both aerial seeding and drilling were used to plant separate fields and even with minimal precipitation, the cover crops have germinated creating a nice green cover where crops have been harvested.
At the conclusion of the field day, Jim and Charles Pilling were recognized as the 2013 Region 9 Conservation Farmers of the Year. The award was presented by the Des Moines County Soil and Water Conservation District in recognition for the brothers work in protecting Iowa’s valuable natural resources through a variety of conservation practices including cover crops.