June 21, 2017 8:17am CST
In a time when new laws and regulations on buffer strips are forced upon the farming community, this is a refreshing article that reminds me that everyone must do our part to reduce fertilizer pollution in our waters and streams. As a human beingI want to encourage our urban neighbors to follow our lead in rural , to help us make our rivers and lakes cleaner as we move forward. I want to educate everyone what is going on in our farm fields around the country. Every farmer does soil sampling now days before they fertilize their crops each year. Many of us sample every 2.5-acre grid to know exactly how variable each field is before a prescription is written for that field. We can’t afford to over apply nutrients; each prescription is written with a crop removal of nutrients in mind. Therefore, only the grain being removed from the field is accounted for, the nutrients left in the stalks and leaves are credited back to the field as they rot and breakdown for the next year’s crop. Each grid area is fertilized to bring soil health to an optimum fertility level. The areas of overfertilization from past decades are not fertilized as heavily as areas that produce a better than average yield. On our farm, we try to minimize compaction by not making unneeded trips across the field, we know that the more compacted the soil is the more runoff we have. We also know that the amount of water holding capacity in our soil determines how well our crops will yield. This quote from the article caught my attention… “Urban watersheds are highly “leaky” with regard to nutrient pollution because of their dense networks of streets and storm drains, which are designed to readily move water off the landscape to avoid flooding. As a result, most of the phosphorus entering urban watersheds ends up being carried away by stormwater that drains into surface waters, and thus contributes to pollution and eutrophication.” In my opinion, if our urban neighbors would care for their acreage like a farmer does they would do a few things to help water filter into their soil instead of running off. 1. Install drainage tile to encourage water to filtrate into the soil. Water will percolate down through the soil will take nutrients into the root zone of their lawn or garden, instead of running into storm drains. 2. Install drain tile holding reservoir that all tile lines and down spouts drain into. This water can be used to water the lawn and garden when needed 3. Limit the amount of lawn cuttings on muddy soil to reduce compaction and to help keep water from running off their property. 4. Mow lawn at a higher cutting height, because we know that the taller the plant is the deeper the roots grow. This larger root mass keeps your lawn healthier under the doughty conditions during summer months. 5. Take soil samples and fertilize each ingredient of N-P-K as needed and only where it is needed.
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