Soil health field day to honor late farmer


Soil Erosion Shebly
Top soil runoff in Shelby county, Iowa. (USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Iowa)
Jenna Ladd | June 10, 2016

A cover crop and soil health field day will be held in Solon, Iowa on Thursday June 16th to honor late farmer Tom Wall. A grower for 33 years, Wall practiced no-till agriculture on his corn and soy bean crops. In efforts to improve soil health, Walls also planted turnip and cereal rye cover crops beginning in 2013. Cover crops provide many benefits to the land, including soil erosion protection, reduced nutrient leaching, carbon sequestration, weed suppression, and integrated pest management.

The event will be held at the Timber Frame Lodge off of Lake Macbride Trail. It is hosted by the Iowa Learning Farms, in collaboration with the Rapid Creek Watershed Project and the Iowa Soybean Association. The event includes a complimentary dinner and is free and open to the public.

The field day will feature a discussion about “incorporating small grains and perennial forage into row crop rotations” led by Iowa State Extension and Outreach Agronomist Matt Liebman. Jason Steele, Area Resource Soil Scientist for Iowa Natural Resource Conservation Service, will conduct a demonstration on soil health. Additionally, attendees will have the chance to see the effects of rainfall on various agricultural and urban land use scenarios through a Conservation Station Simulator.

When considering that Iowa has lost over half of its topsoil over the last 100 years, events like these seem to carry a new significance. Beyond the devastating environmental consequences, there are also adverse economic effects of top soil erosion. In Iowa, eroded soil means rented land decreases in value by $6.74 per acre on average.

For more information about this cover crop and soil field day and other conservation education events, visit The Iowa Learning Farm.

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