College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Helmers: Focusing on water quality

“We’ve been looking at these practices for a long time to identify how we can reduce nitrate loss from drainage systems and optimize crop production,” says Matt Helmers, ISU Extension ag engineering professor and a member of the team that helped develop the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, introduced in 2013.

Helmers: Tile water nitrate testing

“We have 172 plots in all, and take about 4,000 water samples a year from them,” ISU Agricultural Engineering Specialist Dr. Matt Helmers told a group of farmers and agribusiness reps at the ISU Ag Engineering and Agronomy Research Farm near Boone. He said ISU has more than a $500,000 investment in drainage water quality …Continue reading “Helmers: Tile water nitrate testing”

ISU Research Farms utilize conservation practices for science, stewardship

“The majority of our fields without trials are planted with cover crops. We also have planted milkweed for monarch butterfly conservation and for pollinator habitat,” said Schnabel, a 2010 graduate of ISU in agricultural systems technology. “All these practices add benefits to the land, environment and cropping system. Installing and utilizing these practices on our …Continue reading “ISU Research Farms utilize conservation practices for science, stewardship”

Andersen: Workshop offers insight on water quality issues

When Iowans talk about water quality, they sometimes think the major problem is manure. “I’m a big fan of the nutrient reduction strategy,” says Iowa State University Extension Agricultural Engineer Dan Andersen. “I’m not a big fan of when people call it the manure reduction strategy.” Andersen was one of the speakers at a manure management workshop …Continue reading “Andersen: Workshop offers insight on water quality issues”

Helmers: Quality drainage needs a little bit of everything

“It’s not as simple as, ‘We’ll do this one thing to solve the problem,’” said Matt Helmers, an agricultural engineering faculty member with Iowa State University. To that end, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has been partnered with many entities to look at different practices and find the most efficient ones. That includes …Continue reading “Helmers: Quality drainage needs a little bit of everything”

Strip-tillage and cover Crop field day planned for July 28 in Webster County

Speaking at the field day is Matt Helmers, professor and extension specialist in ag and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University. He will highlight practices and ongoing research efforts to meet the goals of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Mark Hanna, extension agricultural engineer, will share tips on adjusting planter settings for strip-till and no-till …Continue reading “Strip-tillage and cover Crop field day planned for July 28 in Webster County”

Helmers: Soil erosion can wash out profits

Cover crops, Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program wetlands, saturated buffers and bioreactors all successfully reduce nitrates, said Matt Helmers, Iowa State Extension ag engineer. The Nashua research farm has replicated subsurface drainage plots to evaluate the performance of various in-field management practices. It also has one of the first bioreactors built in Iowa. “It’s possible to meet our …Continue reading “Helmers: Soil erosion can wash out profits”

Nation’s premier site for water quality science drives progress

Scientists often take many roads that lead to progress. For Iowa State University’s water quality research, an important path has gone through Gilmore City, Iowa. A farm just outside the north-central Iowa town is home to Iowa State University’s Agriculture Drainage Research and Demonstration Site, a facility that has been working to further Iowa State …Continue reading “Nation’s premier site for water quality science drives progress”

Iowa Learning Farms January webinar: Iowa nutrient reduction strategy discussion

Iowa Learning Farms begins its sixth year of monthly webinars on Thursday, Jan. 21. John Lawrence, associate dean in College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director for Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension and Outreach at Iowa State University, and ILF program manager Jacqueline Comito will discuss conservation and the ISU Extension and Outreach role.

Helmers: How do we fix Iowa’s nitrate problem?

Matt Helmers, an Iowa State University biological system engineer, said studies show crops in a corn-soybean rotation grown without applied nitrogen fertilizer also lose nitrates, although it’s about 40 to 50 percent less than when fertilizer is applied. Iowa loses nitrates — naturally found in the state’s rich organic soil — to its waterways with …Continue reading “Helmers: How do we fix Iowa’s nitrate problem?”