Managing cropping systems is an important part of reducing nutrient and sediment loss from agricultural landscapes. Using conservation practices like limited tillage, enhanced soil cover during vulnerable periods, permanent vegetation on waterways and others can help keep soil and the associated nutrients where they are most productive-in the field. In farming systems that include livestock, manure management goes hand in hand with cropping systems management and reducing nutrient losses.
UW-Discovery Farms research has shown that management systems that harvest large percentages of precipitation water have lower risk of nutrient and sediment losses. The items featured here should be used as additional tools in the toolbox to harvest precipitation water and reduce nutrient and sediment movement from cropping systems.
Cover crops are one tool that can provide a wealth of benefits into our Wisconsin crop rotations. Cover crops can enhance soil quality by increasing soil organic matter, stimulating greater soil biological activity, reducing soil erosion and utilizing extra soil nutrients.
Shallow Vertical Tillage
Vertical tillage implements are designed to cut and distribute crop residue, as well as conduct shallow tillage. Through this project, we collected field data on 14 crop fields where either Great Plains Turbo-Till or Summers Supercoulter Plus implements had been used (not an endorsement or exclusive list, represents participant’s machines).