During the webinar on Wednesday, Dr. Kathleen Delate, professor in the departments of agronomy and horticulture at Iowa State University, shared research results that show greater soil and water quality benefits in organic systems with longer crop rotations, when compared to conventional corn-soybean rotations.
Iowa is one of the largest producers of organic grains and demand for organic crops is continuing to increase. The practice standard set forth by the USDA National Organic Program instructs producers to utilize tillage and cultivation practices that maintain or improve the soil and minimize soil erosion. The standard also states that the producer must manage plant and animal materials in a way that does not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water by nutrients and other substances.
Dr. Delate shared soil and water data that has been collected to compare organic farming to conventional farming practices. The results of the studies show that the organic sites have less nitrate leaching, increased amounts of soil organic carbon, and larger beneficial soil microbe populations. Research is also being done into organic no-till and this is a promising combination, but more research is necessary. Dr. Delate also emphasized the importance of integrating livestock into organic systems.
To learn more about organic farming and the results of these studies, watch the full webinar!
Join us on Wednesday, April 28, for the webinar “Cover Crops and Pheasant Nesting in Iowa’s Ag-Dominated Landscape,” presented by Taylor Shirley, a graduate research assistant at Iowa State University.