In Drowned Out, Worthington Daily Globe staff writer Julie Buntjer reports:
Having completed a county erosion estimate of Rock County’s 320,000 acres, he said there was an estimated $160,000 in damage to existing conservation practices and another $4.5 million in damage caused by gullies and washouts on land where conservation practices weren’t in place.
“It’s a very good demonstration of what conservation practices can do,” Bos said. “We probably only covered three-fourths of the county in those figures — those dollars are just erosion costs or damage, nothing with the roads or ditches.”
Buntjer includes advice from Stephanie McLain, district conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Worthington, about the value of cover crops to prevent additional issues like soil erosion and "fallow field syndrome" for fields where crops were drowned:
Because of the timing of the storms, McLain suggests farmers consider planting cover crops.
“If you have bare soil, any fertilizer you put out there has the potential to be lost,” McLain said.
Cover crops could scavenge the nitrogen and recycle it, making it available for the next planting season.
Bare soil has the potential to erode with wind and rain, she said, and planting cover crop vegetation will provide protection to the soil and also improve infiltration and compaction. Cover crops can also crowd out undesirables like ragweed and pigweed.
“If we can get something in there to compete with them, we reduce the likelihood of that becoming a weed patch year after year after year,” McLain said.
Better that the fertilizer stay in the fields, rather than ending up in river or groundwater. Read the whole article at the Worthington Globe.
Photo: Flooding in Luverne, Minnesota; the line of cars in the background are crossing Interstate 90 before it was closed. Photo by Dale Moerke.
If you appreciate Bluestem Prairie, you can mail contributions (payable to Sally Jo Sorensen P.O. Box 108, Maynard MN 56260) or use the paypal button below:
Email subscribers can contribute via this link to paypal; use email sally.jo.sorensen at gmail.com as recipient.