The Daviess County Soil & Water Conservation District was formed in 1941 to provide information about soil, water and related natural resource conservation; identify and prioritize local soil and water resource concerns; and connect land users to sources of educational, technical and financial assistance to implement conservation practices and technologies.

 Office InformationOur office 250 x 188

Location: 2526 East National Highway, Washington IN 47501

 Phone: 812-254-4780,ext.3  Email: dc.swcd@daviess.org

 Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Closed weekends and holidays 

 

Our Mission:

To provide educational, technical and financial assistance to all Daviess County residents in order to maintain a clean and wholesome environment in which to work and live.

This year’s data may be surprising considering the tough farm economy, but not to Rodney Rulon who farms with his family near Arcadia, Indiana. Rulon and his family have been continuously no-tilling and using cover crops for a number of years.

“We have done the math and this year we calculate the total benefit of cover crops on our farm at around $69 per acre,” Rulon said. “That’s a 266 percent return on our investment in seeding and planting.”

Cover crops have many benefits like increasing organic matter for better soil biology and improving infiltration and water-holding capacity, according to NRCS. In a state that receives as much as 40 inches of rain in a year, cover crops also prevent nutrient leaching by capturing excess nutrients and sediment – keeping them on the farm and out of nearby waterbodies and streams.

In fact, with just under ten percent of the state’s row crop acres protected by cover and living roots in 2016, approximately 3.27 million pounds of nitrogen, 1.63 million pounds of phosphorus and 1.33 million tons of sediment were prevented from entering Indiana’s waterways.

Cover crops can also build resiliency in the soil, according to Rulon. “Wet springs like the one we’re experiencing and hot dry summers are great reasons to give cover crops a try,” Rulon said. “Some of the biggest benefits I’ve seen in using cover crops with no-till have come in years of drought. The drought of 2012 was one of the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime, and our average yield was 130 percent of the county’s average or almost twice the normal difference.”

According to Hardisty, “Another interesting trend is Hoosier farmers have planted about four times more acres of cover crops than what NASS reports for wheat acres in Indiana. Since most farmers have had some experience with wheat, we see this as a tremendous opportunity to get even more farmers comfortable with trying cover crops, so we expect our numbers of acres to continue to grow.”

In addition to cover crops, the transect also analyzes fall tillage and residue trends. Fields not tilled in the fall have crop residues to protect the soil from fall, winter and spring rains, which further limits sediment and nutrient losses. The 2016 report shows that Indiana farmers left their crop residues undisturbed this past fall as follows:

  • 67 percent of soybean acres
  • 58 percent of corn acres
  • 50 percent of small grain acres
  • 31 percent of specialty crop acres

The ICP believes the no-till and cover crop acres represented in the transect data are at a much higher and sustainable quality because many farmers are using multiple conservation practices as part of a total soil health management system. A systems approach means using practices like adaptive nutrient management, integrated weed and pest management, crop rotations, precision technology and prescriptive buffers that work together with cover crops and no-till to improve soil function.

“Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council are proud of Indiana farmers for taking proactive steps to improve soil health and water quality,” said Alyson Wells, Director of Production and Environment for the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council. “Reduced tillage and cover crops are two options farmers can take to help increase production and protect the environment, and the growing use of these practices shows that farmers are making changes that can have big impacts both on and off the farm.”

 

Upcoming Events

Rain Barrel Sale 

The Daviess County SWCD and the City of Washington's Stormwater Department are offering 50-gallon rain barrels for sale. Barrels are $65.00 + IN sales tax. Contact the SWCD if you are interested in purchasing a rain barrel, or print out the order form and mail it with your payment.

Click here for order form.

Client Gateway

Farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners can now do business with USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through an online portal. With the launch of the Conservation Client Gateway, producers will have the ability to work with conservation planners online to access Farm Bill programs, request assistance, and track payments for their conservation activities. The Conservation Client Gateway is secure and is entirely voluntary, giving producers a choice between conducting business online or traveling to the USDA Service Center. To learn more, visit: www.nrcs.usda.gov/clientgateway

Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About Natural Resources...

...But didn't know who to ask! Whether you have owned your land for a lifetime, or are a new Indiana landowner, you may have questions when it comes to land use and conservation. This is a quick guide for who to call and where to look when you have questions about natural resources and conservation on your land in Indiana.

Indiana Conservation Answer Guide

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