Old stream channels are helping to clean up farm drainage water in north central Iowa. Restored oxbows in the Boone River Watershed reduced nitrate concentrations in tile water by about 50%, according to water monitoring data gathered by the Iowa Soybean Association....More
Nitrate management in tile water is a big reason why this water control structure has slowly gained a foothold in the Corn Belt, but its potential for providing timely water to corn and soybeans may spell the future for this underground tile water management tool....More
The full extent of damage from flooding and saturated soils cannot be seen until the corn plant has a chance to recover. Knowing what factors affect damage and survivability, and what signs to look for when assessing plant health will help you make the best decision for the long term success of your corn crop....More
On Wednesday, the EPA finalized the Clean Water Rule, ensuring "waters protected under the Clean Water Act are more precisely defined and predictably determined, making permitting less costly, easier, and faster for businesses and industry....More
Keith Grimm hates to let valuable water drain away. So the Hiawatha, Kan., farmer and his two brothers collect runoff in reservoirs at field edges, then pump it back onto crops through center pivots....More
"I can't make it rain, but I can do my best to capture and keep what I have to use it for my crops," says Arliss Nielsen, a Wright County, Iowa, no-tiller. This year he took the unusual step of venturing into controlled drainage....More
I have been an educator of soils at the University of Minnesota Extension for 18 years. I have watched soil scientist retire, leave to other positions or pass away. Due to tight budgets or changes in priorities, many are not replaced. So please help me cultivate the next generation of soil scientists. There are websites with creative and scientific resources for teaching soils. Give it a try. Remember: Soil is not a dirty word!...More
In this second installment of our best stories from 2014, farmers showcase drainage systems that also irrigate, along with high-yield corn production tips. Read how tillage increases compaction, and plan for a micronutrient strategy. There are conservation ideas to help farmers be competitive, as well as thoughts on soil lime. All of these stories offered farmers an approach to help them Think Different about their farm operations.
Farmers, from an agronomic perspective, are doing great keeping phosphorus loss as low as 1% to 2%. The challenge, according to University of Arkansas phosphorus expert Andrew Sharpley, “isn’t so much the magnitude of the losses, or even the tile system itself; it’s the extent to which tile drainage has been implemented by farmers.”...More
The 5 ag stories to read this week include tips on storing grain this fall, as well as a reminder that a solid nutrient balance is important to corn yield, and not just nitrogen. Read about a new soil mapping technology from Purdue, and understand that when benchmarking your farm, it's important to use relevant benchmarks. For a little enjoyment, read about how you know you grew up on a farm when… .
“Rock and roll” isn’t about music for Mike Petefish when he’s picking rocks in Claremont, Minnesota. “When I see a rock like this one with a certain bluish color, I know it’ll be dense and heavier for its size than any other, and all I can do is rebury it cause I sure can’t lift it with a backhoe,” he says....More
Here are 5 ag stories you should read today, April 25. From late planting and concerns (or lack of), including compaction, to learning more about the PLC risk coverage in the Farm Bill, to NASA research about better soybeans, these are stories you should read....More
More than 50% of surveyed farmers want their local retailers to provide help to monitor soil health and changes related to cover crops. And, farmers also said they want their retailers to help them adjust their nutrient management plan to factor in the use of cover crops....More
You might say that soil is the original green machine. Working with the Earth’s soil microbes saves you a lot of money. At no cost, soil’s tiny, underground critters convert sunlight, water, carbon dioxide and crop residue into crop income....More
Steve Miller’s “double duty” drainage and sub-irrigation system lets him control the water table in his field year-round. “I thought, if you can suck water out of the field, you should be able to pump it back in!” says the Fairmount, N.D. farmer, who grows corn, soybeans, wheat and sugar beets with his daughters, Alicia Holubok and Amanda Fisher....More
Farmers may soon have a new set of tools along with professional guidance that tells them not only how much nitrogen they currently have in specific, small areas of their fields, but how long they can expect that nitrogen to last....More
A 120-foot-wide ribbon of deep-rooted switchgrass spools along the Yellow Medicine River, a meandering prairie stream that winds through Doug Albin’s Minnesota farm. For decades, this stream-side grass strip has filtered out pollutants in surface runoff from adjacent cropland....More
"This will be a great opportunity for farmers interested in cover crops and soil health to meet up with like-minded individuals from their local area to discuss both local and national issues related to cover crops," said Dr. Rob Myers, North Central Region SARE....More
After more than 30 years of no-till, constructing 1,000 terraces and untold grass waterways and turn areas, Ray Gaesser decided to up his soil-protection game after an 8-inch overnight rainfall washed out a 20-acre field that spring....More
There are a lot of interesting facts about healthy soil. These graphics provide a glimpse of just some of those secrets including cover crops, organic matter and microorganisms. The Natural Resources Conservation Service has compiled these infographics as a part of its Unlock the Secrets of the Soil campaign. Find out more about soil secrets from NRCS.
With the potential for wet soils in some areas of the country this spring, compaction may be an issue during planting. Sidewall compaction in wet soils can be a problem, especially if the crop is “mudded-in” and a dry spell occurs after planting....More