Learn about row crops, fences and watermelons at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day – June 24, near Albion

For Release: June 12, 2014

ALBION, Iowa — When you work on a 1,500-acre diversified farm, it can pay off to find creative ways to repurpose equipment. Wade Dooley raises row crops, livestock and watermelons, among other crops, at Glenwood Century Farm with his father near Albion, and says he saved money by adapting row crop machinery for his watermelon field.

He’ll discuss how he did this – as well as a variety of other topics, from corn research he’s doing to a new fence project – at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day he is hosting on Tuesday, June 24, from 1-3 p.m., near Albion. The farm is located at 2110 Stanley Mill Rd., about 1.5 miles west of Albion. The event, “Row Crops, Fences and Watermelons,” is free to attend and will offer something to interest farmers of all types, from row crop to livestock to horticulture. The field day is sponsored by Genetic Enterprises International and Great Lakes Hybrids.

Learn about corn trials exploring transgenic versus non-transgenic corn that Wade is conducting through Practical Farmers’ on-farm research Cooperators’ Program, and a major new fence project Wade is undertaking to update the farm’s 40-year-old fences and better suit the family’s rotational grazing system. Attendees will also get to see the field where Wade raises winter cereal rye for cover crop seed, located about 5 miles from the field day site; hear from a regional grazing specialist with Marshall County Natural Resources Conservation Service; and see the row crop machinery Wade adapted for use on his watermelon field.

“I grew up with machinery that we fixed or made ourselves,” Wade says. “We had a lot of older machinery pieced together from other machines, so cobbling is fairly easy for me to do. I look at something and see how it can be used for something else also.”

Besides having a knack for modifying equipment, Wade says repurposing machinery has a more practical benefit: it saves money. “I’ve modified three pieces of equipment. The guys buying them are spending a couple thousand dollars, and most of mine came out of a junk pile. It was either free or mostly free. So that’s a big deal – it keeps my overhead low so my risks aren’t quite so high.”

The fencing project is another one Wade is excited about. With most of the farm’s pastures on river bottomland, a series of floods over the past several years and some older fence to begin with, Wade decided it was time to do a major fence renovation. “The river has helped us modify our fences,” he quips, “so I’m revamping the whole system. The fencing systems my grandparents put in place were great for then, but we’re now doing rotational grazing, which requires more fencing. I hate patching fence, so I want to do it right the first time.”

Glenwood Century Farm is a 1,500-acre integrated, diverse crop and livestock operation consisting of corn, soybeans, cereal rye, cover crops, alfalfa hay and pasture, as well as watermelons, squash and popcorn.

From U.S. 30: Take Exit 179 for IA-330 N /Marshalltown Blvd. and follow Hwy 330 north about 8 miles into Albion. (Note: you will have to turn left to stay on Hwy 330). Once in Albion, turn left (west) on North Street and go three blocks to the “T” intersection (West Street). Turn right for one block and then left on Stanley Mill Road (another “T” intersection). Go 1.5 miles; the farm site is on the left (south) side of the road just before the ”Y” intersection.

From U.S. 20: Take Exit 208 for IA-14 toward Parkersberg / Grundy Center. Follow Hwy 14 south about 7 miles to Grundy Center and continue west out of town (a right turn, also called G Avenue). Go 7.3 miles and turn left to stay on Hwy 14 (where it splits with state Route 175). Continue south for about 16 miles and turn right (west) on state Route 330. Drive about 5 miles into Albion and turn right (west) on North Street. Go three blocks to the “T” intersection (West Street) and turn right. In one block turn left on Stanley Mill Road (another “T” intersection). Go 1.5 miles; the farm site is on the left (south) side of the road just before the ”Y” intersection.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2014 field day season features 35 field days around Iowa. All field days are open to the public, and most are free to attend. The guide is currently available on Practical Farmers’ website, and will be available in print at the end of May. Contact the office at (515) 232-5661 to request a copy.

Practical Farmers’ 2014 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; BlueStem Organic Feed Mill; Calcium Products; Center for Rural Affairs; Featherman Equipment Company; Gateway Market and Café; Grain Millers, Inc.; Grassland Oregon; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa Farm Service Agency (USDA); Iowa Farmers Union; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (ICASH); ISU Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; Klinkenborg Aerial Spraying and Seeding, Inc.; La Cross Seed – Soil First; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Midwest Insurance Corporation; MOSA Organic Certification; Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); National Wildlife Federation; Organic Valley – Organic Prairie – CROPP Cooperative; The Nature Conservancy in Iowa; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; and Welter Seed and Honey Company.


Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers, advancing profitable, ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture through farmer-to-farmer networking, farmer-led investigation and information sharing. Farmers in our network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For additional information, call (515) 232-5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org.


Wade Dooley | Glenwood Century Farm | (641) 488-2217 | centuryfarm@hotmail.com

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | tamsyn@practicalfarmers.org