College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Soil health and cover crop field day promotes agricultural evolution on Nov. 19

The Soil Health Partnership, along with the Iowa Learning Farms and Bremer County farmer partner Mark Mueller, will host a cover crop and soil health field day on Thursday, Nov. 19, from 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. at the Borlaug Learning Center at the Iowa State University Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm, near Nashua. The event is free, open to the public and includes a complimentary meal.

Speaking at the field day is Mark Mueller, SHP demonstration network and ILF farmer partner, who will share his experience with cover crops and other conservation practices. Mueller is a fourth generation farmer on a Centennial Farm near Waverly. No-tilling since 2000, Mark has also added cover crops to help preserve the fragile topsoil and keep it in place during rainstorms.

Also speaking at the field day is:

  • Iowa State University ag engineering professor Matt Helmers, who will provide a research update of the long-term drainage plots at the research farm.
  • Tyler Mitchell, agricultural specialist at the Northeast Research Farm, will provide updates for ongoing projects.
  • Elyssa McFarland, Iowa Field Manager for the SHP, will discuss management strategies to improve soil health.

The field day will also feature a tour of the ILF cover crop mixtures trial plots. The field day has been submitted for two Soil and Water CEU’s for Certified Crop Advisors for no charge.

The event will be held at the Borlaug Learning Center, 3327 290th St., Nashua. From Charles City, head south on US-218 for 9 miles. Take exit 220 for IA-346 (280th St.) toward Nashua. Turn right (west) on IA-346 (280th St.) and take the first left (south) on to Windfall Ave. (gravel road). At the T-intersection, turn left (east) on 290th St. The farm is on the left (north); please park in the east parking lot.

The field day is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is requested. Please contact SHP Field Manager Elyssa McFarland,

An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, the Soil Health Partnership works closely with diverse organizations including commodity groups, industry, foundations, federal agencies, universities and well-known environmental groups toward common goals.

“We encourage sound soil practices combined with scientific quantification of results from farmers taking positive actions,” said Nick Goeser, SHP director.

“Improved crop productivity, environmental gains and economic growth are all benefits of progressive soil management strategies.”

Providing food, fuel and fiber for a growing population without harming resources for future generations is one of agriculture’s greatest challenges. But the nation’s farmers are a resourceful lot, with many embracing innovative technology and practices to achieve ambitious strides.

For the original KIOW story, click here.