Describe the conservation choices that you recommend for implementation on the farm.
There are numerous conservation choices that can be implemented in the farm. First, crop rotation must be implemented. For example, corn, legumes and small grains can be rotated. Scientific studies have showed that crop rotations that include small grains and alfalfa significantly reduces soil erosion. Likewise, choosing the right rotation of crops will also help reduce the use of pesticides. In planning the rotation, it is best to design the rotation in such a way that the farm will meet the farm needs and goals for the yield as well as prevent erosion.
Crop residue management is also recommended. Basically, crop residue can help shield the soil from rain and wind which in turn reduces erosion. Likewise, less tillage of the soil through mulch-till, no-till or zone or strip-till will reduce soil compaction and saves the time and fuel on the part of the farmer.
Contour farming and strip-cropping is still another conservation method recommended for the site. This creates small ridges that slow down runoff water especially on the wet areas that will later allow infiltration and filtering sediment. On the part of the farmer, this method would reduce fuel consumptions and it proves to be easier for farm equipments. The width of each strip depends on the slope, the equipment and the management.
Cover crops are also a conservation management that can be implemented in the field. This is done by planting cover crops like cereal rye, oats or winter wheat as soon as harvesting of the previous crop is finished and that the residue is not enough to cover the soil from wind and water erosion especially during spring or winter.
Explain how your plan would be good to the environment. How will erosion problems be controlled?
The above-named conservation plans are good to the environment especially on the prevention of erosion. By applying crop rotation and including small grains in the rotation, soil erosion is better controlled as small grains have been proven to reduce soil erosion. Crop Residue Management, on the other hand reduces soil erosion by minimizing the tillage of the soil and also by protecting the surface of the soil from wind and water. Contour farming and strip-cropping prevents or slows down water runoff especially on sloppy and watery areas thus slowing down the flow of water. Cover crop also protects the soil from wind and water.
Aside from soil erosion, the above-named conservation practices also contribute to the maintenance of the fertility of the soil especially nitrate and can be used as a natural herbicide. Crop residue specially adds to the soil tilth and to the organic matter to the soil.
What management practice must be performed to allow your suggestions to work as planned?
For the suggestions to work as planned, the farm owner has to consider having the soil tested and following the soil test recommendations specifically on what crops are best suited in each part of the farm. Likewise, setting realistic goals will help in improving the farm and reducing frustrations on the part of the management especially on crop yields. As nitrogen is very important on a farm, make sure that suitable nitrogen sources like legumes are part of the crop rotation to be implemented. Other important management practices includes controlling soil erosion, managing water flow and fencing animals away from streams, drains and other critical areas of the farm.
Explain any deviations from the landowners’ desires that you have suggested.
No major deviations from the landowner’s desires are to be implemented only additional conservation choices are made.