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Iowa field day on soil health goes virtual


June 9, 2020
By ISU Extension and Outreach

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The virtual soil health field day will take place on June 18, 2020. Photo courtesy of ISU Extension.

Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Iowa Nutrient Research Center and Conservation Learning Group, is hosting a free virtual soil health field day on Thursday, June 18 at 1 p.m.

Participants will dig into soil health with Marshall McDaniel, assistant professor in soil-plant interactions at Iowa State University, with video footage from the field and live interaction during the event.

The term soil health has recently become popular due, in large part, to the increased awareness of the importance of soil biology. However, current biological soil health tests are expensive, highly variable and difficult to interpret. McDaniel studies the relationship between soils and plants and how this relationship is affected by management and the environment. The McDaniel Research Group’s goal is to understand what enhances soil-plant interaction, soil health and agroecosystem sustainability.

“Farmers want to be able to monitor changes in their soils,” McDaniel said. “While traditional fertility tests have major limitations when it comes to measuring soil biology, commercially available soil health tests are very expensive. We want to highlight some good do-it-yourself soil health tests that farmers and landowners can implement relatively inexpensively.”

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Make plans to join and participate in the live field day. Shortly before 1 p.m. CDT on June 18, click this URL or visit www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/events and click “Join Live Virtual Field Day”.

Or, join from a dial-in phone line by dialing +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 992; meeting ID: 914 1198 4892.

The field day will be recorded and archived on the ILF website so that it can be watched at any time. The archive is available online.

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit has been applied for, for those who are able to participate in the live webinar. Information about how to apply to receive the credit (if approved) will be provided at the end of the live field day.