Iowa Learning Farms and the STRIPs research group will host a prairie strips installation field day at the farm of Gary Guthrie near Nevada, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 10. Featured topics include the process and cost of implementing prairie strips in cash crop fields and the benefits prairie strips have on increasing soil health and biodiversity, as well as nutrient reduction.
The prairie strip concept comes out of the research project “Science-based Trials of Row Crops integrated with Prairies (STRIPs).” The STRIPs project is looking at the effectiveness of strategically placed prairie areas on farm fields growing row crops. On-farm research conducted at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Prairie City, has shown that by taking just 10 percent of the field out of row crop production and planting with perennial prairie plants reduces sediment movement off the field by 95 percent, reduces phosphorus loss by 90 percent, and total nitrogen loss reduction by nearly 85 percent. The prairie strips act as buffers to reduce erosion caused by runoff and by filtering nutrients and sediment that pollute rivers and streams.
Attendees will hear from host farmer Gary Guthrie as he discusses the process of adding prairie strips to several of his fields. STRIPs researcher Mary Harris will discuss how the integration of prairie strips in row crop fields improves insect habitats, specifically pollinators. Iowa State University Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Professor Matt Helmers will discuss the water quality benefits of using prairie strips. He will also talk about design and placement strategies for these prairie areas. Agricultural specialist with the STRIPs project Tim Youngquist will discuss prairie plant species and plant diversity within the strips.
Additionally, the Conservation Station will be on display. The Conservation Station features a rainfall simulator that shows the effects the effects that different surfaces from agricultural and urban environments have on the displacement of rainwater.
The event is free-of-charge and open to the public, and a meal will be provided with the Story County Cattlemen grilling. An RSVP is requested; please contact Iowa Learning Farms at 515-294-8912 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org by July 7.
The event site is located at 58444 260th St., near Nevada. From Ames at the I-35/Hwy 30 Interchange: go east on Highway 30 for two miles, and turn right (south) onto 580th Ave. and drive two miles to 260th St., turn left (east) onto 260th St. and drive a quarter-mile.
For more information on STRIPs research, visit the website: www.nrem.iastate.edu/research/STRIPs/.
For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/.