Ames, Iowa—Iowa Learning Farms (ILF) is sponsoring a field day at the Iowa State University (ISU) Neely-Kinyon Research and Demonstration Farm near Greenfield, Adair County, on Wednesday, July 27, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The field day will include a complimentary dinner, and information about strategies for no-till as well as information about incorporating perennial vegetation to enhance no-till. Attendees will be able to see and learn about Giant Miscanthus and other perennial energy crops. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
Farmers and landowners interested in beginning no-till or who are experienced no-tillers can learn from the speakers at the field day. Greenfield area no-till farmer Randy Caviness will share his experiences from over 20 years of no-till crop management. Jeremy Singer, research agronomist with the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, will answer questions about managing fall-seeded cover crops. The benefits of cover crops include enhancing no-till by reducing soil erosion and improving long-term soil tilth and water quality.
Also speaking are ISU Extension agricultural engineer Matt Helmers, who will discuss the potential of integrating perennial prairie strips with row crops to limit sediment and nutrient losses from crop acres. Emily Heaton, ISU assistant professor of agronomy, will showcase Giant Miscanthus plants that are being grown at the research farm. These perennial plants are being tested as an alternate source for biofuel energy production. ISU Extension agricultural engineer Mark Hanna will show farmers how to equip planters for successful no-till corn or soybean planting in high residue levels and will also offer farm energy and money-saving management tips.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their families to the field day to see the Conservation Station–a mobile learning lab that teaches audiences of all ages about the importance of soil and water quality. The back of the Conservation Station houses a rainfall simulator, demonstrating the effects of rainfall on undisturbed soils with a variety of land covers, showing both surface water runoff as well as subsurface drainage. At the front is a learning center with displays and activities to learn about soil and water quality. Kids who attend the field day can become members of the “conservation pack” by participating in the Conservation Station’s activities.
The ISU Neely-Kinyon Research and Demonstration Farm is located two miles south of Greenfield on Highway 25, then one-half mile east on 260th Street and a one-half mile north on Norfolk Avenue.
Iowa Learning Farms are building a Culture of Conservation, encouraging adoption of residue management and conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF staff are working together to encourage farmers to implement the best in-field management practices that increase water and soil quality while remaining profitable. Iowa Learning Farms is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the US EPA (section 319); in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa and the Iowa Farm Bureau.