Soil health and grazing field days to be held in northeast Iowa

Brian Dougherty
Iowa State University
Hands-on field days will explore soil health in grazing systems.

Farmers, landowners and ag support providers are invited to learn more about soil health in grazing systems July 6-8. The classes, offered by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and Iowa Learning Farms, are free to attend and include complementary lunch; however, reservations are required. Lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m. and the program will take place 1-3 p.m. each day.

In these hands-on field days, attendees will learn how to assess soils on their own properties. Each location will feature a soil pit with discussion of soil physical characteristics and how they impact soil function and a comparison of soils in both grazed and row-crop systems. Infiltration and soil aggregation assessments will be performed and discussed, along with other simple indicators that can be used to evaluate and track changes in soil health. Attendees will also learn how to assess pasture condition and how grazing management affects soil health.

“These field days are a great opportunity to learn about the hidden world beneath our feet,” said Brian Dougherty, field agricultural engineer with ISU Extension and Outreach. “People will be able to see how different management practices affect what is happening below ground and learn about how that affects the growth achieved above ground. Feel free to bring your own shovel and get your hands dirty."

Event locations

  • July 6: Kubik Family Farm, 2587 130th St. Traer, Iowa.
  • July 7: Nelson Family Farm, 27996 Harding Road, Clermont, Iowa.
  • July 8: Smith Family Farm, 26129 Tivoli Lane, Epworth, Iowa.

For reasonable accommodations and to RSVP, contact Liz Ripley, conservation outreach specialist with Iowa Learning Farms, at 515-294-5429 or ilf@iastate.edu.