Using decision trees to help determine suitable edge-of-field practices was the topic of the Iowa Learning Farms webinar yesterday. Chris Hay, Sr. Manager—Production Systems Innovation with Iowa Soybean Association, explained the basics of edge-of-field practices and discussed decision trees that can help farmers, landowners and conservation professionals select an edge-of-field practice.
Hay gave an overview of wetlands, saturated buffers, bioreactors, and controlled drainage. He explained how they can be used to address environmental concerns while maintaining agricultural productivity. These edge-of-field practices are effective at reducing nitrogen loss from agricultural fields, while also being very cost effective. This makes them an attractive choice for some landowners, but deciding which practice works for their site and their goals can be difficult.
The decision trees were developed as part of the Whole Farm Conservation Best Practices Manual. The full manual is available as a free download from the ISU Extension Store or our website https://www.iowalearningfarms.org/. The tools are divided into two sets: one for farmer/landowner decision makers and one for conservation professionals. Hay explained the how the tools work and what considerations they take into account to help guide decision makers through the process of choosing an edge-of-field practice.
To learn more about edge-of-field practices, their performance, and how to use the decision trees in the Whole Farm Conservation Best Practices Manual to help guide conservation decision, watch the full webinar here!
Join us next week for the webinar “The Halo Effect: Do Short-Term Watershed Project Successes Lead to Long-Term Continued Successes?” presented by Jamie Benning and Dr. Jacqueline Comito, both with Conservation Learning Group.