Farm management: Good for you, good for our future

 

Keeping nutrients on your field is just as important as keeping them out of our waterways. The same nutrients that are essential for crop growth and profitability are the same nutrients that endanger water when they escape from the field. Sediment, organic matter, fertilizers, and pesticides are all nutrients that can come from farm fields and be transported to water either through erosion or storm runoff.

Resource management is not a “one fits all” method. It is best to come up with a practice plan that is specific to your farm and goals. Effective agricultural management requires knowledge of how nutrients move across the land and the impact they have. Luckily, there are many management practices to help protect water and keep nutrients on the land.

A soil test is a good starting point. A nutrient management plan can be developed from the soil test results. Following the plan will help keep nutrients on the field and out of the water by following the right rate, at the right time, in the right place, and using the right source. Cover crops help to stabilize the soil, prevent erosion, and add organic matter to the soil. Filter strips help capture nutrients in runoff before they enter the water and can protect fields from flood damage if the nearby drains and streams experience high-water.

Practices that help stabilize the soil and move nutrients into the soil quicker are better for soil health, increase yield, and protect water quality. Protecting these resources now, will help protect them for future generations. If any of the above practices sound interesting or you would like to know more about farm-specific planning, give the Shiawassee Conservation District a call today! There are economic incentives for agricultural landowners and producers who live in the Looking Glass River watershed to implement these practices.

 

This information is part of a larger project funded by EGLE under the NPS Control Fund and Section 319 of the federal CWA.

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