Two Northwest Iowa Field Days will feature integration of row crops, cover crops and cattle

Farmers and beef producers interested in learning more about cover crops and successfully integrating cover crops as a forage resource into their current beef and row crop enterprises are invited to attend either of two upcoming field days in Monona or Buena Vista County.

Erika Lundy, extension beef program specialist with the Iowa Beef Center, said both events feature similar topics but will be held on different days at two of Iowa State University’s outlying research farms. There is no cost to attend and a free meal is included at both locations.

“The first field day will be held at the Iowa State Western Research Farm near Castana on March 28 from 10 a.m. to about 2 p.m.,” she said. “This field day’s focus is on cover crop usage in the Loess Hills and will highlight a current ISU research study using stocker cattle to graze cereal rye.”

Iowa State Extension and Outreach agronomy field specialist Rebeca Vittetoe said presenters also will offer information on benefits that cover crops can provide and how cover crop management in the Loess Hills may be different from other areas of the state.

“Preventing soil erosion is important, especially in Iowa’s Loess Hills as the soil is quite vulnerable to erosion. Cover crops are one tool farmers can utilize to reduce soil erosion on their farms,” she said. “Joel DeJong, extension agronomy field specialist in northwest Iowa, will talk about utilizing cover crops to protect the land.”

Other sessions at Castana include nutritional considerations when grazing cover crops and fencing and watering considerations. Additional agronomy focused topics include cover crop seeding and termination methods,and the impact of cover crop and grazing cover crops on soil compaction and future crop yields.

The second field day will be held on April 12 at the Allee Demonstration Farm near Newell. This program agenda is similar to that for Castana, featuring best management practices for cover crop establishment, grazing cover crops, cover crop termination and fencing and watering systems.

“At the Allee field day, we also will have a local producer panel to discuss their personal challenges and successes of integrating cover crops into their operations,” Vittetoe said. “In addition, the Allee Farm manager Lyle Rossiter will discuss on-going cover crop research at the farm.”

Additional speakers and project collaborators include Mike Witt, Iowa State extension field agronomist; Paul Kassel, Iowa State extension field agronomist; Beth Doran, Iowa State extension beef specialist; Dan Loy, Iowa State extension beef specialist; Kris Kohl, Iowa State extension ag engineer; and Chris Beedle, Iowa State Western Research Farm manager.

There is no cost for either field day thanks to the sponsorship of Iowa State Extension and Outreach, Iowa Beef Center and Iowa Nutrient Research Center. However, those planning to attend are asked to RSVP to ensure adequate meal and materials.

To RSVP for the Castana field day, please contact Monona County Extension Office by phone at 712-423-2171 or email [email protected].

To RSVP for the Newell field day, please contact Sac County Extension Office by phone 712-662-7131 or email [email protected].