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Iowa farmers use conservation tillage


Iowa farmers used soil-saving conservation tillage on more than a million additional acres in 2007 according to the latest survey by the Conservation Technology Information Center.

New reports show these soil-saving measures which keep crop stubble on the field from year to year increased to 15.17 million acres, up 8.5 percent from the 2006 planting figures. On corn, conservation tillage was used on 6.44 million acres, up nearly 16 percent from the previous year. Soybean producers grew their conservation tillage on 8.54 million acres, up 5.2 percent from the year before.

"Iowa farmers believe in protecting the land and the water, not just because it's the right thing to do. They depend on our natural resources to sustain them," said Iowa Farm Bureau Federation President Craig Lang. "Protecting our soil and water is a daily challenge; one that has been made more difficult by the historic rainfall we have had the last couple of years. But the continued efforts of farmers and additional funding for conservation practices can help us reach our goal of cleaner water."

In order to be considered 'conservation tillage,' a farmer has to leave more than 30 percent residue on the field when they plant. But that's not all that Iowa farmers do to protect the soil and watershed; seven major conservation practices used on Iowa farms are estimated to remove as much as 38 percent of the total nitrogen, 28 percent of the nitrate and up to 58 percent of the phosphorus from our rivers, streams and lakes.

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