After a wrenching year of storms and floods across much of the state, it's time to take stock of steps to reduce the impact of extreme weather on your farm and the surrounding environs. Financial incentives are available for vegetative buffer strips.
When planning a vegetative buffer strip, select grasses, shrubs, and trees that will perform well in your geographic area. Here's an introductory guide as to what works well in different areas of the state.
Soil is the single most important resource on which our agriculture depends. Proper soil management is necessary to sustain long-term agricultural productivity. Soil loss through erosion or run-off hurts agricultural production with depletion of organic matter and fertility. It also has environmental implications.
Research was conducted to compare infiltration rates in switchgrass barriers and a soybean field. Results showed the value of grass barriers in improving soil structure and infiltration and reducing runoff of sediments and nutrients.
By improving soil properties manure applications can help increase water infiltration and reduce soil erosion when used in combination with other soil conservation practices. Care needs to be taken, however, in how often and how much manure is applied to avoid P loss in runoff and erosion.