Learning Farms Webinar to Feature Cover Crop Strategies to Enhance Soil

The Iowa Learning Farms conservation webinar taking place Dec. 21 at noon CST will feature Etienne (Herrick) Sutton, Ph.D. candidate, University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability. Sutton’s research focuses on ways in which farmers can strategically manage crop diversity on their farms for improved agricultural sustainability, particularly through the use of cover crops to support agroecosystem functions like nutrient cycling and climate resilience.

Iowa Learning Farms is an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach conservation and water quality education program.

In the webinar, “Embracing Real-World Variability to Improve Cover Crop Outcomes,” Sutton will discuss the results of a citizen science study and on-farm experimentation to highlight emerging trends in cover crop management that affect the performance of cover crops in real world use. She will also illustrate how the variability across different farming conditions can limit the realization of the full anticipated benefits from cover crops. Focusing on real world conditions and constraints, Sutton will make a case for approaches to site-specific management recommendations that can reduce uncertainty for farmers.

“Cover crops do add value, but as farmers face growing pressure to reduce the environmental impacts of food production, while also grappling with increasingly challenging weather patterns, research on cover crop management can play a crucial role in helping tackle those issues,” said Sutton. “Although there are no one-size-fits-all solutions for cover cropping, our research suggests that cover crop mixtures that combine functionally diverse Diverse cover crop test plot.species may outperform single-species cover crops and be more reliable across a wide range of conditions.”

Participants are encouraged to ask questions of the presenters. People from all backgrounds and areas of interest are encouraged to join.

Webinar access instructions

To participate in the live webinar, shortly before noon CST Dec. 21:

The webinar will also be recorded and archived. All archived webinars are available on the ILF website, so that they can be watched at any time.

ILF has applied for a Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit for attending this webinar. Those who participate in the live webinar are eligible. Information about how to apply to receive the CEU will be provided at the end of the live webinar.

Upcoming webinars in the series

  • Jan. 4, 2023: Keith Schilling, University of Iowa.
  • Jan. 11, 2023: Joe Otto, Soil and Water Conservation Society.
  • Jan. 18, 2023: Lee Burras, Iowa State University.
  • Jan. 25, 2023: Maria Lemke, The Nature Conservancy.

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