Cover crops growing in Iowan field

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association / Ryan Johnson)

Cover Crops in Action tour

April 4, 2024 | Kriss Nelson

The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) is hosting cover crop tours in northwest and eastern Iowa to showcase farmers' conservation efforts.

More than 60 locations have been designated stops for a Cover Crops in Action tour throughout Cherokee and O'Brien CountiesBuena Vista and Pocahontas Counties in northwest Iowa and Benton, Linn and Iowa Counties in the state's eastern side.

Cover crops

These self-guided tours center around acres with cover crops and other conservation practices.

“If you are interested in learning more about cover crops, take a nice spring drive and see for yourself conservation in action from the comfort of your vehicle,” says ISA conservation agronomist Evan Brehm.

With a recommended viewing period of now through June 1, stops on the tour will represent a variety of ways farmers are implementing cover crops and conservation on their farms.

Viewers will see different cover crops in action, including winter kill and multi-species mixes planted with various applications and dates, and how those cover crops respond to those methods.

Some of the multi-species cover crops include winter camelina. This over-wintering brassica is gaining attention from farmers as a cover crop that could be easier managed ahead of corn or as a possible oil seed crop.

All stops are marked by signage. In addition to cover crops, other practices, such as long-term no-till and strip-till fields, can be seen, as well as edge-of-field practices, including bioreactors and wetlands.

In eastern Iowa, tourists can get a sneak peek at three nitrogen rate trials that are part of the Iowa Nitrogen Initiative. These stops are worth revisiting later in the growing season to see how crops respond to different rates of nitrogen.

“There are a lot of incentives for adopting cover crops right now, and if you are interested in the practice, the best way to learn is to see how other farmers are making it work, and a good time to see is right now during the tour,” says ISA conservation agronomist Ryan Johnson.

For more information regarding the Cover Crops in Action tour in eastern Iowa, contact Brehm at or call 319-310-5468.

To learn more about the tour in northwest Iowa, contact Johnson at or call 712-229-7184.