2016 Watershed Academy Resources, Presentations and Handouts


Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework

Mark Tomer and Sarah Porter gave a presentation at the 2016 Watershed Academy. By viewing this presentation, you will be able to:  

  • Recall the basic concept and framework for the ACPF and visuals that describe the riparian analysis process within ACPF and data sets that drive the model
  • List practices that ACPF currently has the capacity to target

Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework in the Big Creek Watershed

Emily Zimmerman presented on her research that used the ACPF in the Upper Big Creek Watershed. By viewing her slides, you will be able to:

  • Summarize a case study on the economic costs of installing conservation practices recommended by the ACPF in one watershed
  • Describe and discuss her findings on whether fields with biophysical vulnerabilities (runoff risk and nitrate leaching risk) can be identified and spatially prioritized with the ACPF

Choose Your Own Adventure

Laura Christianson presented on reducing nitrate in tile drainage. By viewing her presentation, you will be able to:

  • Explain the difference between nitrate load vs. concentration
  • Define the 4R principles of nutrient stewardship
  • Recall the effectiveness of in-field management, in-field drainage and edge-of-field or off-site practices in reducing N loss in drainage
  • View great visuals on all practices

Commercial and Manure Nitrogen Management

Angie Rieck-Hitz presented on commercial and manure nitrogen management. From her presentation, you will be able to:

  • Interpret the specifics of nitrogen cycling in both corn and soybean systems
  • Recall the native soil organic matter nitrogen occurring per acre
  • Explain N use efficiency of commercial fertilizers, including how much N is processed by soil microbes and how much is lost to denitrification
  • List common commercial N sources
  • Identify first-year nutrient availability for different animal manures

Creating an Action Plan for 2016

Clare Lindahl presented on how to create an action plan. From her presentation, you will be able to:

  • Recall the six development guidance categories
  • Define the difference between a goal vs. objective

Nitrogen Recommendations for Optimizing Economic Return and Water Quality

Mark Johnson presented on nitrogen application and maximum return to nitrogen. After viewing the presentation, you will be able to:

  • Explain why the maximum return to nitrogen (MRTN) was developed
  • Compute MRTN using a few basic steps
  • Describe the strengths of the MRTN approach
  • Access the corn nitrogen rate calculator and discover main feature


Nitrogen Use in Iowa Corn Production

Nitrogen is essential for growth and reproduction of crops and is involved in many important plant biochemical processes. Nitrogen management is critical for optimal yields for corn production systems. This publication discusses long-term research done in Iowa and shows corn yields average about 60 bu/acre for continuous corn and 115 bu/acre for corn following soybean when corn is not fertilized. However, corn fertilized with N will easily yield 200 bu/acre or more. This means soil management and nitrogen fertilization practices, such as using economical optimum N rates, should be used to help optimize crop yields, use N efficiently, and enhance water quality.

After reading this publication, you will be able to:

  • Recall MRTN nitrogen application rates for corn following corn and corn following soybean
  • Describe and explain basic principles for maintaining soil nitrogen

Sensing Nitrogen Stress in Corn

Determining the proper nitrogen (N) fertilization rate is important for the economic viability of corn production. A desire for high yields, fueled by low fertilizer N costs, led producers to apply rates that ensured adequate N rather than risk costly yield losses due to a shortage of N. Due to water quality concerns and recently high N fertilizer prices, management strategies are needed that can improve the efficiency and profitability of N use. With N application rates based on economic return instead of maximizing productivity, producers want to confirm that rate decisions are working adequately. Also, if unexpected N losses occur, help is needed with decisions for rescue N applications.

After reading this publication, you will be able to:

  • Explain how handheld chlorophyll meter sensing tools can measure the greenness of corn leaves as reflected by the chlorophyll content and N status
  • Follow the correct procedure for using handheld sensing tools
  • Apply when to take CM readings and how to assess a CM reading

Using Manure Nutrients for Crop Production

Manure has characteristics that make nutrient management different and sometimes more complicated than fertilizer. Find out about manure nutrient availability for crops, manure nutrient supply, manure nutrient application recommendations, adjusting for manure nitrogen volatilization, and more. 

After reading this publication, you will be able to:

  • Recall first year nutrient availability for different animal manures
  • Determine how to calculate manure application rates
  • Determine how to correct to account for N volatilization losses depending on application method

Choose Your Own Adventure

Laura Christianson used this handout as a tool to accompany her presentation given at the Watershed Academy.

Concepts and Rationale for Regional Nitrogen Rate Guidelines for Corn 

This publication focuses on rates of nitrogen application in rain-fed conditions, and corn-soybean and corn-corn rotations. The information is designed primarily for agronomists and crop consultants, and includes specific scientific rationale for corn nitrogen use and a regional approach to nitrogen rate guidelines.

By reading this publication, you will be able to:

  • Explain the role of organic matter breakdown to plant N availability
  • List and apply steps required to calculate MRTN
  • Describe how specific factors affect suggested fertilizer nitrogen rates
  • Demonstrate an understand of corn N fertilization and rate of application

Iowa Learning Farms Field Day Toolkit

The Field Day Marketing Toolkit is the product of Iowa Learning Farms’ many years of planning and hosting field day events across the state of Iowa. While ILF utilizes many different outreach approaches, the importance of farmer-to-farmer interactions cannot be overstated. Field days do matter!

Iowa Learning Farms Field Day Toolkit - Interview Questions for Field Day Host

Use this fillable PDF to gather personal details about your field day host for your press releases and event planning.

Nitrogen Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn in Iowa (No longer available)

Updated Resource: Use of the Late-Spring Soil Nitrate Test in Iowa Corn Production

This pamphlet replaces all earlier guidelines for using the late-spring test for soil nitrate and all previous nitrogen fertilizer recommendations based on corn yield goals and credits for N supplied by legumes and animal manures.

After reading this publication, you will be able to:

  • Recall when soil should be sampled for LSNT and how to select testing areas
  • Determine the required depth of a soil sample and number of cores per sample 
  • Follow procedures for how to handle or ship the soil samples
  • Determine how to make fertilizer recommendations for manured soils, corn after soybean and corn after corn

Watershed Academy Packet Handouts

Handouts are available here from the exercise used at the Watershed Academy.

  1. Big Creek
  2. Big Creek Saturated Buffers
  3. FEEL Farm
  4. Site 1
  5. Site 2
  6. Site 3
  7. Site 4
  8. Site 5
  9. Site 6
  10. Site Description
  11. Slope FEEL
  12. Soils FEEL

Watershed Implementation Plan Logic Model Template

Jamie Benning provided a logic model that can be used to implement a watershed plan at the 2016 Watershed Academy.