Keeping soil covered key to moisture conservation: Part III

Cover crops can help reduce the need for supplemental irrigation in the Rain Belt states, USDA NRCS scientists say.

When some farmers in other parts of the country learn the Mid-South states receive 50 inches of rainfall a year, they can’t believe that farmers in the region have to irrigate their crops multiple times.

Those are the words Ray Archuleta, conservation agronomist with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, used to describe the sense of frustration he and other soil scientists and agricultural engineers feel about the lack of cover crops across the country.

Archuleta and Keith Scoggins, district conservation with USDA-NRCS in Cross County, Ark., used a rainfall simulator to show the difference in the water holding capacity of soils that have been planted in cover crops for one or two or in multiple years compared to soils that have been freshly tilled.

The demonstration took place at the inaugural Arkansas Soil Health Alliance Field Day in Cotton Plant, Ark.

To see other videos in this series, click on

http://www.deltafarmpress.com/conservation/farmers-should-mimic-nature-improve-soil-health-part-i

http://www.deltafarmpress.com/conservation/tillage-one-most-destructive-things-agriculture-part-ii

 

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