Iowa Learning Farms August 19 webinar: the full potential of cover crops


Ames, Iowa—The regular monthly Iowa Learning Farms webinar for August will be on Wednesday, Aug. 19, at 1 p.m. This month’s guest speaker is Tom Kaspar who will present “Reaching the Full Potential of Cover Crops in Iowa.”

Although cover crops have been around a long time, we don’t have much experience on their use in modern corn-soybean rotations in Iowa. We do, however, understand the general principles of how winter cover crops improve soil health and reduce losses of sediment, nutrients, and organic matter from corn and soybean fields.  Today, we have barely scratched the surface of the potential benefits that cover crops might provide. Only continued long-term research and farmer trials will allow us to reach the full potential of cover crops. Log in to the webinar to hear Kaspar’s perspective of this timely topic.

Tom Kaspar is a plant physiologist at the USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, and has been with ARS since 1981. Over his career, his research has focused on crop and soil management to improve water quality and soil productivity. Since 1990, he has worked on the benefits and management of winter rye as a cover crop in corn and soybean rotations in Iowa.

The ILF webinars are held on the third Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. They are free and all that is needed to participate is a computer with Internet access. To participate, go to: at 1 p.m. on the afternoon of the webinar and log in through the guest option. Webinar attendees will be able to converse with Kaspar by typing their questions through the chat function. The ILF webinars are recorded and archived on the ILF website for viewing at any time:

Since January 2011, ILF has hosted a webinar every month. There are over 55 webinars to view on a wide range of topics including soil erosion, cover crops, buffers, bioreactors, and farmer perspectives. The webinar archives are also available in podcast through iTunes.

Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation, encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable. Partners of Iowa Learning Farms are the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319), Conserva­tion Districts of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Water Center and Practical Farmers of Iowa. For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website: