“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.
“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”
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”
“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”
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”
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 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.
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?”