Healthy Soil = Clear Water
This photo was taken on Tuesday December 6, 2016, in Southwest Indiana. This field was planted in a cereal rye/tillage radish cover crop mix following corn. To be perfectly honest, it was difficult to find any water running off of this field at all, because nearly all of the rain was soaking into the soil. This photo was taken in an area of the field where three different valleys came together. The estimated drainage area at the location of this photo was about twelve acres, and this was all of the water that was running.
What is the value to you as a producer to have only clear, colorless water running away from your farm during the winter? Healthy soil is the answer. Soil health is essential to long term sustainability of highly productive soil like this. Utilizing winter cover crops like these improves the soil’s ability to absorb rain water and keeps the micro-biology within the soil alive and thriving. There are so many benefits to cover crops with very little downside. If you haven’t experimented with using winter covers yet, you really should. Talk to your local Soil and Water Conservation District office and speak with some of your neighbors that are doing it. There really can be a day when all cropland runoff water is clear and colorless and yields and production remains high.
- Article and photo submitted by Chris Lee, NRCS