Field day July 11 near Brighton

BRIGHTON -- Nelson Smith will share his experience with organic weed control at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day he is hosting from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 11 on his farm at 1546 305th St., about 4.5 miles north of Brighton.

For organic row crop farmers, controlling weeds can be a major challenge. Smith has been successful at farming organically for 21 years by expanding his crop rotation and using mechanical methods to effectively control weeds on his 450-acre farm.

?Crop rotation lets you increase organic matter, reduce input costs, access a variety of markets, save on seed costs, break pest and weed cycles, and spread labor requirements over a large period of time,? said Smith, who raises 300 acres of row crops and 150 acres of alfalfa.

The Smith farm has been certified organic since 1997, and Smith?s expanded rotation includes soybeans, corn, oats and alfalfa, with buckwheat and rye occasionally added to the rotation.

Attendees will learn how a tine weeder and mechanical cultivation can complement each other for effective weed control. Smith uses a Treffler tine weeder, and will discuss why he prefers this over a rotary hoe. He also will share why longer crop rotations are of utmost importance for weed control in organic crop production.

?We hope attendees will understand the options of different types of cultivation and the timing of effective cultivation,? said Smith.

The event -- ?Mechanical Weed Control for Organic Crop Production? -- is free to attend and will include a light lunch after the field day. Reservations are requested for the meal to Debra Boekholder, 515-232-5661 or, by July 6.

The field day is sponsored by Iowa Organic Association and Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District.