NRCS Rainfall Simulator demonstration Aug. 5 in Ipswich

Farm Forum

With each weather forecast, we cross our fingers we will receive a timely rain. This growing season has seen its ups and downs for moisture. As we enter the critical stages for crop growth, we need to consider changes we can make in our cropping system to help minimize the risk and turn it into a reward.

As rain falls, we need to make it a priority to keep the moisture on the land and reduce runoff. Rain infiltration is our insurance policy for hot dry summers and drought years. Maintaining adequate moisture in the soil profile allows our crops to sustain a drier period longer.

So what are some options to help increase infiltration in our soils? Soil health is the number one priority to increase infiltration. If our soils are healthy, they will provide for our crops. Such practices as a diverse crop rotation with at least two-thirds of the rotation in high residue crops will help increase your organic matter. Adding cover crops to the cropping system helps keep a living root available for insects, fungi, bacteria, worms, and other soil biota to feed, reproduce, and excrete nutrients into plant available nitrogen. Strict no-till practices increase organic matter, soil structure, improve water infiltration paths, and keep the soil biota intact.

To see these soil health practices in action, we invite you to the Edmunds County Achievement Days on Aug. 5 at 5 p.m. next to the 4-H building in Ipswich. We will have our NRCS Rainfall Simulator Demonstration show where 2 inches of rain goes during a rain event. In addition, cover crops have been planted on the future practice soccer fields just east of the 4-H building. These cover crops are working to mellow out the soil, shade the soil and lower soil temperatures, create biological activity, and improve the overall health of the soil while keeping the soil in place. Plan to come early before the BBQ and experience how each rain event impacts our land!