Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

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June 6, 2014

Field day eyes soil health

On July 8, farmers, agronomists and others interested in soil health improvement will have an opportunity to attend a Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative field day at Villwock Farms in Knox County. “Leveraging Irrigation to Improve Soil Health” will focus on both soil health impacts and use of irrigation in soil health systems. The event will provide commodity and specialty crop growers with a unique opportunity to learn from industry experts.

Don Villwock, field day host and one of 12 CCSI farmers, focuses on protecting his soil from erosion, improving water quality and soil health, reducing costs and increasing yields. The no-till farmer produces white corn, soybeans, seed soybeans and seed wheat. A former Knox County Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor, he now serves as president of Indiana Farm Bureau and Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance.

Presentations will include “On-Farm Research and Variable Rate Irrigation Trials” with Dan Emmert, DuPont Pioneer; “Indiana Water Rules: Now and Expected” with Justin Schneider, Indiana Farm Bureau; “Use of Irrigation in Soil Health Systems with Barry Fisher, Natural Resources Conservation Service; a field scouting with drones demonstration by Precision Hawk; “Management Zones and Soil Moisture Sensors for Variable Rate Irrigation and Fertigation” with Tanner Oliphant, CropMetrics; on-the-ground irrigation efficiency assessments and water infiltration.

Lisa Holscher, CCSI soil health program manager, says, “It’s not a big leap to understand how improved soil health can help with irrigation management strategies: improved soil health can lead to improved water infiltration and improved water holding capacity – two big plusses in an irrigated field.

“On the other side of the coin, we can use irrigation systems to take soil health strategies a step further: We can give the field a quick drink to get cover crops up and growing. We can also use variable rate systems to put water and nutrients on when and where our crops need them.”

The cost to attend “Leveraging Irrigation to Improve Soil Health” is $10. Continuing Education Credits for certified crop advisers have been requested. Registration is required by June 24 and may be completed online at www.VillwockFieldDay.eventbrite.com or by calling the Knox County Soil and Water Conservation District at 812-882-8210, Ext. 3.

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