2017 Prairie on Farms Field Days:
The Prairie on Farms Program at the Tallgrass Prairie Center is providing four field days this year. Two were held in June and two will be offered in September. The field days will address how to plant successful native prairie plantings on agricultural fields. The field days are free and welcome to the public, conservation planners, technical service providers, landowners, land managers or anyone interested in learning more about the role native prairie vegetation can play on farms for water quality improvement, monarch recovery efforts and increasing habitat for wildlife and pollinators. Attendees will learn site preparation and planting techniques, the benefits of first year establishment mowing, how to determine the proper seed mix for your site, how to evaluate the success of your native vegetation planting and much more!
Registration is not required, but is preferred for meal planning purposes. For questions or to register please contact Ashley Kittle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-273-3828.
Field Day Dates and Locations:
Wednesday September 20, 9:00–12:00 – Renewable Farm, Cedar Falls. - A complimentary lunch will be served around 11:00. Renewable Farm is located at 1572 S Union Rd. Cedar Falls, IA 50613. Go .25 miles south of University Ave. on South Union Rd. The Farm will be on the east side of S. Union Rd. A spring 2017 in-field native prairie strip will be highlighted as well the Dry Run Creek Watershed Improvement Project.
Thursday September 21, 4:30-6:30 – J.H. Roadman Memorial Park, Dike. – A complimentary dinner will be provided at the conclusion of the event. J.H. Roadman Memorial Park is located 1.5 miles west of Dike on County Road D-19 (160th St.). The park is located on the north side of the road. This field day is in partnership with the ISU STRIPS team and will highlight the planting of in-field prairie strips and a saturated buffer.
First year establishment mowing, in field prairie strip, Dysart, Iowa. July 23, 2015.
First year establishment mowing on an in-field prairie strip planted in June 2015. Early management of recently planted prairie communities is critical for weed control. Fast-growing annual weeds can form a closed canopy, reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the native seedlings. Frequent mowing is an effective technique to prevent a weed canopy from forming in a new prairie planting. Mowing can be done with any type of mower as long as the mower deck can be raised at least 4 inches.
Prairie on Farms workshop at the Luze Farm, Dysart, Iowa. June 2, 2015.
Dave Williams explains the operation of the Truax drill, with the contour prairie strip in the background. On the table are bags of seed for one acre each of the three demonstration seed mixes (Economy (24 species, 3:1 Grass:forb, $130/ac); Diversity (71 spp, 1:1 grass:forb, $277/ac) and Pollinator (47 spp, 1:3 grass:forb, $370/ac). Pots contain examples of small prairie seedlings.
Greg Houseal explained seed quality and storage, while Dave Williams went over installation logistics, seeding method, site preparations, and drill calibration.
The workshop attracted over forty participants including farmers and farm operators, land owners, professional land managers, natural resource professionals and conservation organizations.
Presentations included ISU STRIPS project manager Tim Youngquist, Benton County Roadside Manager Ben Bonar, Benton/Tam County Nutrient Reduction Demonstration Project manager Shannon Mitchell, NRCS Benton County Jim Brown, and farm owner Randy Luze.