Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 18, 2018

Vittetoe field day explores cover crops

Reservations for the free dinner should be made by Friday
Jun 19, 2018

WASHINGTON, Iowa -- For Michael and Denny Vittetoe, cover crops are an integral part of their multi-generation row crop and hog farm near Washington.

The family has been growing cereal rye for nearly six years, and also experimenting with diverse cover crop mixes and various methods of integrating cover crops in their operation. This year, about 25 percent of their farm acres have cereal rye planted.

“We strive to be good stewards of the land by using no-till and cover crops,” Michael Vittetoe said.

The Vittetoes will share their experiences with cover crops -- both the good and the bad -- at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day they are hosting from 5-8 p.m. June 26 near Washington at 2630 IA Highway 92.

The event -- “Thinking Outside the Box With Cover Crops” -- is free to attend and will include dinner. Reservations are requested for the meal to Debra Boekholder, debra@practicalfarmers.org or 515-232-5661, by Friday. The field day is sponsored by Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance and Iowa Farmers Union.

Guests will learn about numerous ways to use cover crops in their operation, from a single species to diverse multi-species mixes. Michael and Denny Vittetoe will discuss the benefits and challenges they have experienced thus far on their cover crop journey.

They also will share details of on-farm research they have been conducting through PFI’s Cooperators’ Program. The family has been experimenting with early interseeding into corn as a way to increase cover crop species diversity and will discuss their findings so far.

“There will be hands-on access to interseeding equipment, and we’ll see a corn field that has been interseeded,” Michael Vittetoe said.

Another segment of the field day will explore ways to mitigate potential corn seedling disease following a cover crop.

Alison Robertson, a plant pathologist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will share research her lab has conducted to understand the role of seedling disease in yield drag. She also will discuss best management strategies to reduce disease.

“We hope attendees will be able to learn from our cover cropping experiences, both good and bad, in order to expedite their learning curve on their own farms,” Michael Vittetoe said.

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