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Cover crops and grazing workshop to be held at the McNay Research Farm on March 27

AMES — Iowa Learning Farms and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host a cover crops and grazing cover crops workshop Noon-2 p.m. Wednesday, March 27 at the McNay Research Farm near Chariton. The event is free, open to the whole family and includes a complimentary meal.

Cover crops are gaining popularity among livestock and row crop producers thanks to the many benefits that can be achieved. These include expanded grazing and forage acres, reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, increased soil organic matter, improved soil health and reduced soil erosion.

The workshop agenda will include Rebecca Vittetoe, Iowa State Extension Field Agronomist, and Erika Lundy, Iowa State Extension Beef Specialist, highlighting an ongoing research project evaluating cattle performance while grazing cover crops, as well as subsequent impacts of grazing on the soil. Liz Juchems, Iowa Learning Farms conservation outreach specialist, will share results from cover crop projects examining species selection, water quality implications, and soil health indicators such as earthworms. Local farmers will also share their experiences with cover crops and tips for successfully adding them to your operation. Weather permitting, attendees will tour the grazing research plots to see cattle grazing cereal rye.

The workshop will be held at the McNay Research Farm, 45249 170th Ave, Chariton. The event is free and open to the whole family, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Please RSVP to Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or ilf@iastate.edu.

Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit www.iowalearningfarms.org.

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