With more farmers interested in organic crop production, Practical Farmers of Iowa is hosting a bus trip for farmers to tour Western Illinois University’s Allison Organic Research and Demonstration Farm, run by WIU soil science professor Joel Gruver, on Wednesday, Aug. 15, from noon to 4 p.m., in Roseville, Ill.


The event is free, but is only open to Practical Farmers of Iowa members. Seating on the bus is limited, and registration is required by Thursday, July 26. To register, visit practicalfarmers.org or call the PFI office at 515- 232-5661. Those interested in attending who are not currently members can join online at practicalfarmers.org.


The Allison Organic Research and Demonstration Farm is a 77-acre site, rented by Western Illinois University for almost 30 years to conduct practical, farm-scale agricultural research. The farm has never been conventionally managed, and has been certified organic since 2009.


The farm’s main crops include corn, soybeans, small grains, peas, sunflowers and mixed hay. Recent research has focused on nutrient management, weed management with and without tillage, cover crops and genetic evaluation.


During the field day, attendees will get to see several large-scale replicated field trials and demonstrations, as well as some smaller-scale plots. Strategies for cover crop diversification will be a major theme. Other topics will include:


· Diverse cover crop mixtures


· Interseeding cover crops


· Diversifying crop rotations


· Ways to reduce tillage frequency and intensity while achieving tillage objectives


· Mechanical weed control


· Pollinator strips


· Managing for high-yielding corn


The bus will leave Ames at 7:30 a.m. from the Quality Inn & Suites Starlite Village Conference Center parking lot, located at 2601 E. 13th St., just west of I-35 on the eastern side of town. Guests are asked to park on the east or west sides of the building, not in front. The bus will travel to a second pick-up site in Iowa City or Ottumwa, to be decided based on the registrants’ locations, and will depart there at 9:30 a.m.


Guests are welcome to drive themselves and meet at the research farm by noon – but registration is still required. There is a place on the registration form to indicate this preference. The farm is located at the northwest corner of the junction of 20th Avenue and 20th Street in Roseville, Illinois.


Lunch during the field day will be prepared by a local Amish bakery – though guests are welcome to bring their own food. There is space on the bus for coolers, and snacks will be provided during the return trip to Iowa. The group will leave the farm a little after 4 p.m. and should return to Ames by about 8:30 p.m.


For specific event questions, contact Stefan Gailans, research and field crops director for Practical Farmers, at 515-232-5661 or stefan@practicalfarmers.org.