September 23 Webinar: Iowa Flood Center Floodplain Mapping Programs

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar on Wednesday, September 23 at noon about floodplain mapping done by the Iowa Flood Center.

Following the historic floods of 2008, the State of Iowa established the Iowa Flood Center (IFC) at the University of Iowa’s IIHR–Hydroscience & Engineering. Among its many flood-related activities, IFC develops flood inundation maps to support planning and mitigation efforts across the state. During this webinar, Witold (Witek) Krajewski, Director of IFC, will explain the floodplain mapping and floodplain map libraries created by IFC.

In cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, IFC developed floodplain maps showing probability, extent, and depth of flooding for every Iowa stream draining more than one square mile. IFC has also developed floodplain map libraries in specific communities that translate National Weather Service forecasts into inundation maps that help individuals anticipate how forecasted flood conditions may affect their property.

Image source: Iowa Flood Center

“Understanding flood risk is important to effectively managing property,” said Nathan Young, Associate Director of IFC. “Floodplain mapping is a valuable tool for anticipating and communicating immediate and long-term flood hazards.”

To participate in the live webinar, shortly before 12:00 pm CDT on September 23:

Click this URL, or type this web address into your internet browser: https://iastate.zoom.us/j/364284172

    Or, go to https://iastate.zoom.us/join and enter meeting ID: 364 284 172 

Or, join from a dial-in phone line:

    Dial: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923

    Meeting ID: 364 284 172

The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time. Archived webinars are available at https://www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/webinars.

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit (CEU) has been applied for, for those who are able to participate in the live webinar. Information about how to apply to receive the credit (if approved) will be provided at the end of the live webinar.

Hilary Pierce

Enhancing Monarch Butterfly Conservation in Iowa

Iowa Learning Farms hosted webinar on Wednesday, September 16 about monarch butterfly conservation efforts in Iowa. During the webinar, Steve Bradbury, professor in the Departments of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and Entomology at Iowa State University explained monarch life cycles, migration and population decline. Up to 50% of the population that overwinters in Mexico comes from the corn belt of the US, making it critical to conserve and establish additional monarch habitat in Iowa.

Although year-to-year variability of the the monarch population is to be expected, the overall trend is declining. The concerning decline has been caused by extreme weather, deforestation in Mexico (which has been stabilized), and habitat loss (milkweed and other nectar resources) in the upper Midwest. In order for the population to be sustainable and able to withstand extreme weather events, it needs to occupy six hectares of the forest in Mexico. In order to achieve this, 1.6 billion additional stems (of milkweed and nectar resources) need to be established in the upper Midwest.

The Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium was formed in 2015 to determine Iowa’s part in the establishment of habitat in the upper Midwest. Significant habitat needs to be established in Iowa and the conservation strategy for Iowa breaks out how many acres of habitat need to be established and opportunities to do so without taking acres out of crop production. Grass dominated sites are areas where there is opportunity to establish monarch/pollinator habitat and research is being done on the best way to transform these sites. Bradbury shared lessons learned from the demonstration sites during the webinar.

To learn more about monarchs and monarch conservation efforts in Iowa, watch the full webinar here!

Join us on Wednesday, September 23, for a webinar titled “Iowa Flood Center Floodplain Mapping Programs” presented by Witold (Witek) Krajewski, Director of the Iowa Flood Center.

Hilary Pierce

September 16 Webinar: Enhancing Monarch Butterfly Conservation in Iowa

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar on Wednesday, September 16 at noon about monarch butterfly conservation efforts in Iowa.    

Steve Bradbury, professor in the Departments of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and Entomology at Iowa State University will provide an overview of monarch butterfly declines over the past two decades, causes of the declines and Iowa’s goal of establishing between 215,000 to 390,000 new acres of monarch habitat in agricultural landscapes over the next decade. Bradbury will also offer approaches for establishing habitat in grass dominated sites, including opportunities to establish habitat in conjunction with the installation of saturated buffers and bioreactors.

“We can grow corn, soybeans, monarchs and improve water quality by stacking conservation and pest management practices,” said Bradbury, whose research and extension efforts address conservation, pest resistance management, and environmental risks and benefits of pesticide use. “Iowa’s monarch conservation and nutrient reduction goals are challenging; however, by integrating practices we can maximize our return on investment.”

To participate in the live webinar, shortly before 12:00 pm CDT on September 16:

Click this URL, or type this web address into your internet browser: https://iastate.zoom.us/j/364284172

    Or, go to https://iastate.zoom.us/join and enter meeting ID: 364 284 172 

Or, join from a dial-in phone line:

    Dial: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923

    Meeting ID: 364 284 172

The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time. Archived webinars are available at https://www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/webinars.

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit (CEU) has been applied for, for those who are able to participate in the live webinar. Information about how to apply to receive the credit (if approved) will be provided at the end of the live webinar.

Hilary Pierce

Lessons From the Derecho: Addressing Storm Damage and Working Towards Resilient Forest and Tree Resources

Iowa Learning Farms hosted a webinar on Wednesday about storm damage to forests and urban trees caused by the derecho in August. Billy Beck, Extension Forestry Specialist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa State University, explained how this damage can be assessed and addressed to create more resilient forest and tree resources in the future.

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Storm-damaged forests create dangerous situations and it’s important to take safety precautions and leave any work outside of your skill set to professionals. When assessing storm-damaged forests, Beck suggests creating a map of the damage and consulting with a forester on the best way to address the damage. There may be some trees that can be monitored instead of removed depending on the type and extent of damage.

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It’s also extremely important to assess forests and trees for damage before the next disaster. Doing so can help prevent extensive damage. Many trees that were damaged in the derecho should have already been removed, due to issues caused by improper placement, pruning, or planting. These issues made the trees more susceptible to being damaged in the storm.

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When considering replacing trees or planting new, it’s important to consider the lessons learned from the aftermath of the derecho. It’s important when planting trees to match the species to the site, thinking first about soils, space, wind, wound potential, and hazards, and then selecting trees that meet your objectives from suitable species. Planting native trees and diverse mixes of trees, as well as ensuring proper planting and care, can help create resilient tree resources.

To learn more about assessing and addressing tree damage and creating more resilient tree and forest resources, watch the full webinar here! Click here for a list of resources compiled by Beck for this webinar.

Join us on Wednesday, September 16th at noon for a webinar titled “Enhancing Monarch Butterfly Conservation in Iowa” presented by Steve Bradbury, professor in the Departments of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and Entomology at Iowa State University.

Hilary Pierce

September 9 Webinar: Lessons From the Derecho: Addressing Storm Damage and Working Towards Resilient Forest and Tree Resources

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar on Wednesday, September 9 at noon about how to assess and address storm damage to both forest and urban trees caused by the August derecho.   

The derecho caused extensive damage across the state, to buildings, crops, and trees. This webinar will focus on the storm damage to forests and urban trees, and how this damage can be evaluated and managed to create more resilient forest and tree resources.

Billy Beck, Extension Forestry Specialist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa State University, will also provide tips on creating more storm-ready urban and rural forest canopies. Recovery resources for both rural forest landowners and urban residents will be covered.

“Landscape and forest trees provide critical social, economic, and environmental benefits to all Iowans, and the derecho produced devastating impacts to these resources,” said Beck. “Whether you suffered damage to trees in your yard, or your 100-acre forestland, this webinar seeks to assist on the road to recovery.” Beck’s research and extension work focuses on the impacts that trees, forests, and forestry have on water quality and quantity within the agricultural Midwest.

To participate in the live webinar, shortly before 12:00 pm CDT on September 9:

Click this URL, or type this web address into your internet browser: https://iastate.zoom.us/j/364284172

    Or, go to https://iastate.zoom.us/join and enter meeting ID: 364 284 172 

Or, join from a dial-in phone line:

    Dial: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923

    Meeting ID: 364 284 172

The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time. Archived webinars are available at https://www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/webinars.

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit (CEU) has been approved, for those who are able to participate in the live webinar. Information about how to apply to receive the credit will be provided at the end of the live webinar.

Hilary Pierce

Long-Term Impacts of 4R Nitrogen Management Practices and Cover Crops on Nitrate-N Loss

Iowa Learning Farms hosted a webinar on Wednesday about the impacts of nitrogen management practices and cover crops on downstream nitrate-N loss. Matt Helmers, Director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center, explained long-term research that monitors drainage water quality at five sites throughout Iowa. The 4Rs of nitrogen management discussed during the webinar are right source, right rate, right time, and right place.

Corn yield at one of the research sites, comparing fall, spring, split, and no nitration application over five years (image from Helmers’ presentation)

Helmers shared results of the corn yield comparing fall, spring, split, and no nitrogen application over five years at one of the study sites. There was no statistical difference between the yields when nitrogen was applied (with lower yields when there was no nitrogen applied). Applying nitrogen closer to when crops take it up has the potential to reduce nitrogen loss. Flow-weighted nitrate-N concentrations for the corn and soybean phases over 2015-2018 are shown below.

Timing of swine manure application and use of a cover crop was studied at another one of the research sites. Increased loss of nitrate-N when injecting manure soon after soybean harvest was seen, but this loss could be mitigated by using a cover crop. There was a benefit to late fall manure application to both nitrate-N loss and corn yield seen as well.

Flow-weighted nitrate-N concentration comparing swine manure application timing and cover crop use, 2016-2019 (image from Helmers’ presentation)

Helmers shared a 10-year summary of nitrate-N loss that compared continuous corn, continuous corn with a cover crop, prairie and fertilized prairie. He also discussed the impacts of dry conditions on nitrate-N loss, showing data from 2013, the year after the drought of 2012, which saw an increase in nitrate-N loss. Cover crops were shown to reduce the nitrate-N loss and could be effectively used following dry periods.

To learn more about this research, watch the full webinar here!

Join us next week for a webinar with Billy Beck titled “Lessons From the Derecho: Addressing Storm Damage and Working Towards Resilient Forest and Tree Resources”. Beck is the Extension Forestry Specialist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa State University

Hilary Pierce

September 2 Webinar: Long-Term Impacts of 4R Nitrogen Management Practices and Cover Crops on Nitrate-N Loss

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar on Wednesday, September 2 at noon about the impacts of nitrogen management practices and cover crops on downstream nitrate-N loss.  

The 4Rs of nitrogen management are right source, right rate, right time, and right place. Right source refers to using the correct fertilizer for the soil and crop needs, right rate means that the application rate matches the crop requirements, right time means ensuring that nitrogen is available when the crop needs it, and right place refers to placing and keeping nitrogen where the crop can get to it. Matt Helmers, Director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center, will explain the long-term impacts of using nitrogen management practices, as well as the use of cover crops, on nitrate-N loss from agricultural systems.

Applying nitrogen closer to when crops take it up has the potential to reduce nitrogen loss. Future nitrogen management will need to take the dry conditions of summer 2020 into consideration and cover crops may be an important tool for reducing risk of increased nitrogen loss during subsequent wet periods.

“Agricultural producers are increasingly challenged to reduce downstream nitrate-N loss. The first step in reducing nitrogen loss is good in-field nitrogen management,” said Helmers, a research and extension agricultural engineer who focuses on agricultural water quality, specifically nitrate-N loss through drainage systems.

To participate in the live webinar, shortly before 12:00 pm CDT on September 2:

Click this URL, or type this web address into your internet browser: https://iastate.zoom.us/j/364284172

    Or, go to https://iastate.zoom.us/join and enter meeting ID: 364 284 172 

Or, join from a dial-in phone line:

    Dial: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923

    Meeting ID: 364 284 172

The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time. Archived webinars are available at https://www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/webinars.

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit (CEU) has been approved, for those who are able to participate in the live webinar. Information about how to apply to receive the credit will be provided at the end of the live webinar.

Hilary Pierce

Evaluating Annual Forages for Beef Cattle: ISU Forage Research Test Plots

Iowa Learning Farms hosted webinar on Wednesday, August 26 about a current research project that assesses forage quality and potential yield of various annual crops. The benefits of incorporating annual forages is that they increase farm enterprise flexibility, extend the grazing season and provide a high-quality forage source, reduce weed pressure, and provide soil health and water quality benefits.

Map of the project’s research sites

The objectives of the research project are to compare forage yield and nutritional value, determine nutrient removal, and provide producer education. Erika Lundy, Extension Beef Specialist at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, explained the first-year results from this research project. The cool and warm season forage yields for the first year of the research project showed a benefit from applying nitrogen. Lundy also shared the forage quality measurements for the warm and cool season annuals, and compared those measurements to pasture quality.

During the webinar, Lundy also explained some of the best management practices for using annual forages, and touched on the economics of grazing. This research is part of a four-year project and more data will be coming out over the next couple years. The team will also look at soil nutrient loss when forages are mechanically harvested and will incorporate producer education and demonstrations to share the research results.

To learn more about the research into evaluating annual forages, watch the full webinar here!

Join us on Wednesday, September 2 at noon for a webinar titled “Long-Term Impacts of 4R Nitrogen Management Practices and Cover Crops on Nitrate-N Loss” presented by Matt Helmers, Director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center.

Hilary Pierce

August 26 Webinar: Evaluating Annual Forages for Beef Cattle: ISU Forage Research Test Plots

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar on Wednesday, August 26 at noon about a current research project that assesses forage quality and potential yield of various annual crops.

Incorporating annual forages into Iowa’s cropping system provides flexibility for land use, alternative forage availability at times of limited perennial forage for cattle, as well as other conservation practices. In an effort to benchmark utilization of winter and summer annuals as a forage resource for beef cattle, forage test plots at three outlying Iowa State University Research Farms have been established to evaluate nutrient quality and potential yield.

Erika Lundy, Extension Beef Specialist at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will share the current results of this research project, which aims to provide research-based information that will help establish reasonable expectations in terms of forage quality and yield of various cover crop and summer annuals.

“In addition to the alternative forage resource annuals bring to farming enterprises, forages are valuable additions for preserving Iowa farmland’s soil and water quality,” said Lundy, whose current extension and research programs are focused on beef cattle nutrition and forage management to improve profitability on the farm level.

To participate in the live webinar, shortly before 12:00 pm CDT on August 26:

Click this URL, or type this web address into your internet browser: https://iastate.zoom.us/j/364284172

    Or, go to https://iastate.zoom.us/join and enter meeting ID: 364 284 172 

Or, join from a dial-in phone line:

    Dial: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923

    Meeting ID: 364 284 172

The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time. Archived webinars are available at https://www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/webinars.

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit (CEU) has been approved, for those who are able to participate in the live webinar. Information about how to apply to receive the credit will be provided at the end of the live webinar.

Hilary Pierce

Tradeoffs Between Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Nitrate Loss, and Soil Health in No-Till and Cover Crop Systems

On Wednesday, we hosted a webinar about research into the connection between soil health and environmental quality at a cover crop and no-till research site. Morgan Davis, Assistant Professor at The University of Missouri School of Natural Resources, and Emily Waring, Graduate Research Assistant in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University, measured nitrate leaching, soil health indicators and greenhouse gas emissions to examine the tradeoffs and benefits of stacking cover crop and no-till conservation practices.

How combining reduced tillage and cover crops can improve both soil health and environmental quality (image from Davis & Waring’s presentation)

Cover crops and no-till are common conservation practices in Iowa and they can address concerns with both soil health and environmental quality. By combining these two practices, several resource concerns can be addressed. The research objective was to measure soil properties and environmental losses at a long-term research site and compare conservation treatments.

Research site location and treatments (image from Davis & Waring’s presentation)

Davis and Waring presented results from 2018 and 2019, which were two of the wettest years on record. The distribution of precipitation was also different. There was more rain in late summer to early fall than the historic average, which provides more opportunity for cover crops to improve water quality. Davis and Waring shared water quality, greenhouse gas emission, and soil health results for the study during these two years. The soil health metric discussed during the webinar was bio-available carbon (24 hour CO2 burst). The results are summarized in the bubble plot below.

Bubble plot showing a summary of the data (image from Davis & Waring’s presentation)

The recording of the webinar is now available on our website. While there be sure to check out the other great archived webinars available on our website.

Join us on Wednesday, August 26, for a webinar titled “Evaluating Annual Forages for Beef Cattle: ISU Forage Research Test Plots” with Erika Lundy, Extension Beef Specialist at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Hilary Pierce