Iowa State crop field day Aug. 25

Iowa Learning Farms, Iowa State University Research and Demonstration Farms and Iowa State Extension are hosting a field day at the Agricultural Engineering and Agronomy Farm, near Ames, Aug. 25, from 9 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

The field day will feature strip-tillage and precision agriculture technology. Attendees will learn about all aspects of strip-tillage, network with farmers who have been using this practice, talk with experts about crop issues and see in-field, strip-tillage and precision agriculture demonstrations. Admission is free and lunch is included.

With the implementation of strip-tillage, landowners and farmers report better water infiltration, improved soil structure, and potential for reduced fuel, machinery and other crop input costs. Before planting (fall post-harves or spring pre-plant) a strip-tillage implement creates strips of tilled soil. Surface residue is left undisturbed between the tilled strips. Corn or soybeans are planted into the tilled soil strips, which warm and dry faster than the rest of the field, making this system ideal for some Iowa soil types.

Farmers wanting to plant continuous corn may consider the strip-tillage features of soil conservation, controlled wheel traffic and fuel savings. Farmers are producing top-end continuous corn yields with a single fall or spring strip-tillage pass. Guidance systems allow the farmer to control specific strip placement from year-to-year, either splitting previous year’s planted rows or planting on top of the previous year’s rows.

Field day guests will rotate between two morning and two afternoon sessions. The morning sessions include Matt Darr, Iowa State agricultural and biosystems engineering department assistant professor, who will discuss and demonstrate precision agriculture technology and equipment and Mark Hanna, Iowa State Extension agricultural engineer, who will discuss strip-tillage equipment and take questions from attendees. Guests also can visit with several implement company representatives and see in-field strip-tillage demonstrations.

After lunch, Iowa State Extension corn agronomist Roger Elmore and plant pathologist Alison Robertson will answer questions of crop concerns. Attendees are encouraged to bring samples of ears or plant leaves so these experts can better identify problems and solutions. The field day offers time for attendees to network and learn from soil and crop experts.

The ILF Conservation Station also will be on display at the field day. Guests can see the rainfall simulator demonstration and visit the learning lab in the station. The rainfall simulator shows the effects of rain on several different surface scenarios and subsurface drainage including highly disturbed land, no-till and residue-covered surfaces, buffers and permeable pavement. The learning lab includes displays and hands-on activities highlighting why soil and water quality are important.

Due to reconstruction of U.S. Highway 30, access to the Iowa State Agricultural Engineering and Agronomy Farm on Aug. 25 will be re-routed. Organizers of the event offer the following alternate directions because direct access to the farm from Highway 30 is closed:

- Coming from the west, exit at Highway 17 east of Boone, travel south one mile to 240th Street (gravel), turn left and go two miles east to U Avenue, then north to the farm.

- Coming from the east, exit off Highway 30 at South Dakota Avenue near west Ames, travel south on South Dakota to 240th Street (gravel), go west five miles to U Avenue, then north to the farm.

Iowa Learning Farms are building a Culture of Conservation, encouraging adoption of residue management and conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF staff work 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, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (section 319); in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa and the Iowa Farm Bureau.

Source: Iowa State University