Illinois farmer Ralph “Junior” Upton broke up a 6- to 8-inch layer of compacted clay by planting cover crops after soybean and corn harvests, thereby enhancing his soil’s ability to store water for upcoming crops.

With drought conditions gripping more than half the U.S. this summer, water-saving strategies are more critical than ever for America’s farmers and ranchers.

The 16-page bulletin, Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranch, from Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) is an excellent primer on conservation-oriented approaches to water use.

The bulletin spotlights innovative, SARE-funded research into a range of conservation options including:

  • Soil management, such as using compost, conservation tillage and cover crops
  • Plant management, featuring crop rotation, water-conserving plants and rangeland drought mitigation
  • Water management strategies such as low-volume irrigation and water recycling

Click here to download the bulletin.

The bulletin also features farmers like Kupers, Hines and Upton who are managing soil to improve infiltration, selecting drought-tolerant crops and native forages, and designing innovative systems for tillage, irrigation and runoff collection.

At the end of the bulletin is a list of resources where readers can get more in-depth information.  FG


—From Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education news release