A recent study in Washington state performed by the USDA-ARS showed that the presence of residue under no-till versus conventionally tilled wheat fields significantly increased the depth and uniformity of snow cover across the entire field. While this research featured wheat, it can reasonably be argued that similar results would be present in corn fields here in Iowa featuring increased residue over their cultivated counterparts. “The snow distribution pattern on the no-till farm made soil water distribution more uniform and increased soil water recharge rates there.” This difference could be especially important this year as soil moisture levels are in need of a drastic recharge before next spring’s planting (not to mention our rivers, backwaters and streams are also in dire need of a recharge which is especially important to this fisherman!). It’s early to be thinking snow but as a SWCD commissioner put it to me yesterday at the CDI conference “I’ll take any kind of precipitation we can get!”
Visit No-till farming helps capture snow, soil water to read the article featured in AG Professional.