Person: Margaret Smith

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Last fall was wonky. Harvest was late and many people didn’t make it into the fields until November to establish their winter small grains – a month or more after optimal planting dates for yield. On top of it we’ve had some bitterly cold stretches this winter with little snow cover, so some folks are […]

March 10, 2018 


fit into extended and diversified
crop rotations between the
small grain and corn phases of
the rotation. They can either be
underseeded with a small grain
crops in early spring or planted
in the summer following small
grain harvest.
• Farmer-cooperators Doug
Alert & Margaret Smith and
Vic Madsen compared corn
following two green manure
strategies: red clover or alfalfa
underseeded with oats (US) vs. a
mix of sunn hemp, sweet clover,
red clover and radish planted in
mid-summer after oat harvest
Key Findings
• Weed biomass in oats in mid-July
was no different with or without
the underseeding at both farms.
• By mid-October 2016, the US
(red clover) produced more
aboverground biomass than
the MSS by almost 1,000 lb/ac
at Alert/Smith’s. The opposite
was true at Madsen’s: the MSS
produced more biomass than the
US (alfalfa) by approx. 800 lb/ac.
• Corn yields were no different
between the two green manure
treatments at both farms.

January 17, 2018 


Are you growing rye or winter wheat for grain or seed this year? What’s the plan after your harvest? If you’re looking to add nitrogen for a 2019 corn crop, now might be the time to think about frost seeding red clover into that rye or wheat in late February. The research is clear: if […]



Long-time PFI farmers Doug Alert and Margaret Smith welcomed close to 60 people to their organic farm, Ash Grove Farm near Hampton, on July 7 to learn about beginning and advanced organic farming tactics. Chief among the topics discussed was terminating a cover crop with the roller-crimper method. It had been several years since Doug […]

July 14, 2015 


Renowned grazier Neil Dennis will share his high stock-density grazing strategies at Practical Farmers’ annual conference – Jan. 24-25, in AmesFor Release: December 9, 2013 Download PDF (165 KB) View Fullscreen

December 9, 2013 


Labor4Learning Program helps beginning farmers get paid on-the-job training from ten established farms around IowaFor Release: January 29, 2013 Download PDF (231 KB) View Fullscreen

January 29, 2013 


Master Researchers to Receive Award at Practical Farmers of Iowa Cooperators’ Meeting DinnerFor Release: January 29, 2013 Download PDF (275 KB) View Fullscreen



One Step at a Time Gardens Hosts Food Handling Field Day, July 10For Release: June 28, 2011 Download PDF (349 KB) View Fullscreen

June 28, 2011 


Learn How to Get Started Grass-Feeding Beef at Practical Farmers of Iowa Field DayFor Release: May 20, 2009 Download PDF (244 KB) View Fullscreen

May 20, 2009 


Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Day Focuses on Oat Crown Rust and Transitioning to OrganicFor Release: June 11, 2008 Download PDF (242 KB) View Fullscreen

June 11, 2008