Cover crop field day to be held near Guernsey Aug. 9

Iowa State University Extension
Rye cover crop growth in spring in field near Sioux Falls, SD. iGrow photo

A cover crop field day will be held Tuesday, Aug. 9, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Luke Bayer’s farm near Guernsey. The event is being organized by Iowa Learning Farms, Poweshiek County Soil and Water Conservation District and the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. The free event is open to farmers and landowners and includes a complimentary meal.

Cover crops continue to gain popularity in Iowa due to their many benefits including reduced soil erosion, weed suppression potential, reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies and increased organic matter in the soil. When paired with no-tillage additional benefits include increased water infiltration and reduced erosion during heavy rain events.

This field day aims to equip attendees with best management practices for establishing cover crops and maintaining yields during the transition to a higher residue system of no-tillage and cover crops.

Farmer host, Luke Bayer, has been experimenting with different cover crop species on his farm over the past few years utilizing the longer establishment window provided by harvesting winter cereal rye for seed. Attendees will be able to hear from Bayer on what he found works and what doesn’t, as well as explore his recently established cover crops.

NRCS soil conservationist Jack Little will offer some hands-on soil health demonstrations that farmers can utilize on their own fields. The field day will also feature the Iowa Learning Farms Conservation Station rainfall simulator and drone cover crop seeding demonstration.

The field day will begin at the air conditioned shop located at 2310 430th Ave. in Guernsey and will be held rain or shine.

From Exit 201 on I-80, head south on IA-21 for 1.5 miles. Turn left to head east on 430th Ave. for 1.1 miles. The farm is located on the south side of the road and field day signs will mark the driveway to enter.

The event is free and open to farmers and landowners, though reservations are required to ensure adequate space and food. For reasonable accommodations and to RSVP, contact Liz Ripley at 515-294-5429 or ilf@iastate.edu. Attendees will be entered in a drawing for Iowa State’s Prairie Strips honey.