On Wednesday Iowa Learning Farms hosted a webinar about cover crops and no-till, with advice for operators who are using or interested in using these practices.
Liz Ripley, Conservation & Cover Crop Outreach Specialist, began by discussing cover crops and the data on their use collected by ILF through their field day participants. While the number of acres with cover crops has grown over recent years in Iowa, more adoption of the practice will be needed to meet the goals set forth in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Ripley shared the results of a long term rye study and a study looking at the impacts of individual species and mixtures of species on water quality and crop yield. She also provided keys to success with cover crops:
- adjust planter settings to account for increased residue present
- time termination before planting correctly
Mark Licht, Assistant Professor & Extension Cropping Systems Specialist, then shared information about switching to no-till and the associated benefits. A study done at Iowa State University found that no-till had lower input costs and yielded higher economic return, when compared to conventional tillage. Mark’s tips for success when switching to no-till:
More information on these practices can also be found in the Whole Farm Conservation Best Practices Manual, available for free from the ISU Extension Store.
Join us next week, at noon on April 15, when Adam Janke will present: “Finding Mutual Opportunities for Soil, Water, and Wildlife by Redefining the Field Edge”.