O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier -

Field Days To Be Held Near Sutherland July 17


Organic crop farmers Paul and Karen Mugge will host two Practical Farmers of Iowa field days – the first focused on beneficial insect habitat, the second on organic row crop production – on Wednesday, July 17, starting at 10 a.m. on their farm near Sutherland.

The back-to-back events are each free, and are joined by a shared lunch from noon to 1 p.m. Guests are welcome to attend one or both events. RSVPs are requested for the meal by Friday, July 12. Sign up online at practicalfarmers.org/field-days, or contact Debra Boekholder at debra@practicalfarmers.org or (515) 232-5661.

The field days are sponsored by Agricultural Flaming Innovations, AgriSecure LLC, Blue River Organic Seed, Iowa Farmers Union, Iowa Organic Association, Organic Valley – Cropp Cooperative – Organic Prairie and Pipeline Foods.

Paul and Karen farm 300 acres of certified organic crops, which have been certified organic since 2001. Their rotation consists of corn, soybeans, small grains and some legumes. Fall triticale is the current small-grains species in the rotation. In addition to organic crop ground, the Mugges’ farm has a mature, 17-year-old restored prairie; prairie strips established in 2015; and a new beetle bank installed with Xerces Society in 2018.

Prairie and beneficial insect habitat field day – 10 a.m. to Noon

The Mugges’ first event of the day – “Prairie and Beneficial Insect Habitat on an Organic Crop Farm” – is being held in partnership with Xerces Society, and will take place from 10 a.m. to noon. Paul will lead guests on a tour of prairie and habitat areas on the farm, and discuss the why and how of installing and managing prairie and habitat.

Topics covered will include:

Preventing erosion

Prairie seeding and management

Beetle bank installation and management

Controlled burning

Beneficial insects in organic crops

Plant and insect ecology and identification

Attendees will learn to identify some insects, prairie forbs and grasses – and Sarah Foltz Jordan, of Xerces Society, and Lydia English, with Iowa State University, will provide insight from their work at Paul’s farm and others.

Organic row crop production field day – 1-3 p.m.

The second event of the day – “Organic Row Crop Production and Mechanical Weed Control” – is being held in partnership with University of Northern Iowa, and will run from 1-3 p.m. Paul will share his approach to successfully raising crops and managing weeds in an organic production system.

Topics covered will include:

Extended crop rotations

Small grains and clover cover crops

Machinery for weed control

Flame cultivators

Directions to the field day are available on Practical Farmers’ website.

This event is part of Practical Farmers’ main 2019 field day season, which includes 40 events across Iowa, and the region, on topics spanning the agricultural spectrum. The field days are meant to help connect farmers with their peers for networking and farmer-to-farmer learning.


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