Field Day on soils found in Northwest Iowa coming soon


A field day will be held at the Gary Langel farm located at 38482 on Highway 3, east of Le Mars. Speaking at the field day will be Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Crops Specialist, Joel DeJong.  DeJong says the focus will be on our soils found in northwest Iowa.

“What we are really going to do is talk about the practices to preserve that magnificent resource which is our soil.  The Deep Creek Watershed project is looking at putting practices in place to reduce erosion. Putting practices in place to reduce the amount of phosphorus and nitrates that get to our surface waters.  We’re actually going to do a closer look that evening at what our soils look like at two different parts of the field. One on a little steeper slope, and one on a little flatter slope.  We’re going to look at that soil type and demonstrate what actually has occurred over time.  You know, moving that topsoil away from where it started, and maybe not having it as deep as it used to be,” says DeJong.

DeJong says farmers will be able to observe two different areas where a backhoe has dug a trench, so farmers can see the layers and depths of topsoil and subsoil.

“We’re going to look at about a five-foot deep trench.  We’re going to look and see what corn root systems do when they get into that soil. We’re going to take a look at the surface that has the organic matter and enrichment.  We’re going to take a look at how deep it is, low-till side versus a flatter hillside, and do some comparisons there.  And talk about how the root systems and the crops interact with that soil resource itself,” says DeJong.

DeJong says the trench will be five-feet deep because often times corn roots will penetrate the soils at that depth.  DeJong says discussion will also focus on the amount of soil loss each year due to erosion.
DeJong says, in one year, as much as five tons of soil could be lost per acre, due to erosion.  He says it is often times difficult to visualize what five tons of soil looks like.  DeJong says imagine a side dump truck filled with soil.  He says that would be approximately 20 tons of soil, or the amount of soil lost each year from four acres.  DeJong says he will compare the amount of soil loss to the amount of crops harvested.  He says discussion will also be directed at opportunities available to farmers and landowners for cost-share conservation practices to help eliminate or greatly reduce soil erosion.
The field day is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m.  An evening meal will be served. 

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